Union review

Shalveen Chand
Monday, October 06, 2014

THE International Labour Organisation’s direct contact mission team is in Fiji to verify complaints by local trade unions on the lack of freedom of association.

In June, a decision to send a team to Fiji after the general election was made by the ILO in its session of the governing body.

A tripartite delegation from Fiji, including the then Labour Minister Jone Usamate, unionist Daniel Urai and employer representative Harvey Probert were present at the meeting.

The terms of reference for the mission is based on the conclusions and recommendations of the ILO committee on freedom of association and had been at one stage agreed to by Fiji.

The decision to continue with the same terms of reference was also made.

A similar ILO team with the same objective was in Fiji two years ago but their mission was aborted.

According to the ILO, on September 17, 2012, the Office of the Prime Minister presented the mission with entirely new terms of reference, which the ILO found unacceptable.

As a result, the ILO mission was asked to leave Fiji immediately.

Fiji Trade Unions Congress acting general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said the unions would meet with the ILO direct contacts mission this week.

In July, Fiji’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Nazhat Shameem told the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, that there was a need to work with the mission team to make sure that this was an inclusive process.

ILO, in its June meeting, also noted that there was a need to look into the claims made by the trade unions but also noted that certain trade unionists in Fiji were using workers’ rights, the ILO and its governing body to further their personal agenda.

The direct contacts mission will then give a report to the 322nd Session of the governing body in November.

And if this does not take place then the 322nd Session would appoint a commission of inquiry. No comments could be obtained from the Labour Ministry last night.

4 thoughts on “

  1. Unionists like Rajeshwar Singh must be removed. Most unionists like Rajeshwar Singh have made a permanent home in union and in this case at FPSA. For how many years he has been the FPSA secretary? Why other union members cannot contest election?
    All the unions constitution and rules must be reviewed by government to allow for anyone to contest election. The rules and constitution are made in a manner that does not allow every member to contest election but only the ” current executives.” In this way the network continues with the executives members. They scratch each others back and rob the members money. This is totally unfair and undemocratic.The Ministry of LABOUR and election office must look into this issue immediately and change the rules and constitution to allow every member to contest the election and NOT only the current executives.

  2. You moan when the government interferes with unions and then ask the government to control how they are run.


    If enough leave the union will collapse.


  3. Lets face it – the country is never still free despite the election to legitimise the Baikhai regime. Returning Baikhai to power does not mean free association and free expression for all. In fact it means the opposite and there is a mountain to climb before reinstatement of these basic rights will eventuate. The normally behaviour in any dictatorship returned to power is to consolidate its control of state affairs – and that means not allowing rights of free association and free expession if they are deemed to be of any threat to its aim! The puppet Fiji rep in Geneva may sound she is trumpeting a cause but that is to be expected of puppets that wear diplomatic clothes. A puppet in Geneva voicing concern to a puppet President in Fiji is not something that one can look to for change. All really depends on how the elephant in the room reacts and that is where this rhetoric actually ends up! Fiji has a long way to go yet in terms of returning to free association and free expression because there is more effort by the regime now to conceal its doings and control citizens, given the window of returning to proper democracy via the recent contentious elections.

  4. Its a matter of not spoiling the party.things need to be addressed in order for the people of Fiji benefit from policies moving forward and if there’s intimidation than the security people are ready to tackle head on

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