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Amnesty International wades into Fiji sugar strike

August 11, 2013

 

No word yet on whether sugar workers will go ahead and strike as they’ve voted to but the declared support of Amnesty International shows the union is harnessing as much fire power as it can and is ready for a fight.
The organisation is the latest to lend its weight to the Fiji cause, this week calling for the ILO to set up aCommission of Inquiry into workers’ rights.
Commissions of Inquiry are the highest level of investigative procedure in the ILO and are generally set up when a member state is accused of committing persistent and serious violations and has repeatedly refused to address them.
In a statement, Amnesty International refers to the intimidation tactics used by the regime during the recent ballot organised by the Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union, posting police and military officers at the meetings and during the polling. Management also threatened to forward the names of workers who voted to the military.
“Under international law, all workers have a human right to form and join trade unions, to bargain collectively, and to strike. These rights are an essential foundation …. and are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and conventions adopted by the ILO, including core Conventions 87 and 98, which have been ratified by Fiji.”
The ILO governing body last year urged the regime to ease up on the labour movement but in June this year it prevented a team from coming into the country and talking first hand to unionists. It did the same thing last year in September.
Amnesty International says it’s also concerned about how workers rights will ultimately fare under the new Constitution the military dictatorship has promised to reveal at the end of the month to replace the one it abrogated in 2009.
“Amnesty International calls on the Fiji government to ensure that the new Constitution is fully in accordance with international law and standards.”
A Commission of Inquiry was first raised in June by the International Trade Union Confederation and supported by 10 national trade union centres from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
90 per cent of sugar workers recently voted to strike despite a 5.3 per cent pay offer by the Fiji Sugar Corporation saying it was too low considering workers earn just $7.10 and hour and haven’t had an increase for seven years.

The regime has said it will not tolerate the mills coming to a halt and will bring in the army if it has to.

mnesty International wades into Fiji sugar strike No word yet on whether sugar workers will go ahead and strike as they’ve voted to but the declared support of Amnesty International shows the union is harnessing as much fire power as it can and is ready for a fight. The organisation is the latest to lend its weight to the Fiji cause, this week calling for the ILO to set up a Commission of Inquiry into workers’ rights. Commissions of Inquiry are the highest level of investigative procedure in the ILO and are generally set up when a member state is accused of committing persistent and serious violations and has repeatedly refused to address them. In a statement, Amnesty International refers to the intimidation tactics used by the regime during the recent ballot organised by the Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union, posting police and military officers at the meetings and during the polling. Management also threatened to forward the names of workers who voted to the military. “Under international law, all workers have a human right to form and join trade unions, to bargain collectively, and to strike. These rights are an essential foundation …. and are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and conventions adopted by the ILO, including core Conventions 87 and 98, which have been ratified by Fiji.” The ILO governing body last year urged the regime to ease up on the labour movement but in June this year it prevented a team from coming into the country and talking first hand to unionists. It did the same thing last year in September. Amnesty International says it’s also concerned about how workers rights will ultimately fare under the new Constitution the military dictatorship has promised to reveal at the end of the month to replace the one it abrogated in 2009. “Amnesty International calls on the Fiji government to ensure that the new Constitution is fully in accordance with international law and standards.” A Commission of Inquiry was first raised in June by the International Trade Union Confederation and supported by 10 national trade union centres from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom. 90 per cent of sugar workers recently voted to strike despite a 5.3 per cent pay offer by the Fiji Sugar Corporation saying it was too low considering workers earn just $7.10 and hour and haven’t had an increase for seven years. The regime has said it will not tolerate the mills coming to a halt and will bring in the army if it has to.

 

 

Source – Coupfourpointfive; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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