Taking action has worked!
The news that the leaders of the Fijian trade union movement are out of jail is a testament to the power of union campaigning and the value of LabourStart.
"Within 24 hours of the launch of LabourStart's online campaign demanding the release of the two Fijian trade union leaders, both have been let out of jail.Â Their release followed the sending of nearly 4,000 messages to Fijian embassies around the world.Â Within the first few hours, we had managed to crash the embassy email servers in France and New Zealand and were no doubt overwhelming them elsewhere..." Eric Lee, LabourStart Read more
Although the immediate threat has passed we still need to remain vigilant as there is still a lot more to do about workers' rights and democracy in Fiji.
HE Ratu Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara
High Commissioner for the Republic of Fiji Islands
34, Hyde Park Gate
Dear High Commissioner
Arrest of Mr Felix Anthony - General Secretary, Fiji Trades Union Congress
The TUC General Council join me in strongly condemning the arrest on 4 November 2011 of Mr Felix Anthony, General Secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, and in demanding the immediate release of Mr Anthony and other trade union colleagues currently held in detention without charge.
The arrest of Mr Anthony follows that of FTUC President Mr Daniel Urai detained at the airport on 29 October 2011 on his return from Perth, Australia, where he spoke against the recent spate of trade union and human rights violations in your country. These arrests and other acts of repression have taken place against the backdrop of an unprecedented legislative onslaught on trade union and human rights by the military regime. In addition, despite strong protests from the international trade union movement and the ILO, the Government of Fiji has gone ahead with the follow-up measures to give effect to Decree 35 of 2011 on Essential National Industries (Employment) which imposes severe restrictions on all trade union activities.
The arrests of trade unionists are a gross violation of the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and contravene Convention 98(1974) and Convention 87 (2002) ratified by your country. Their continued detention is hardly conducive to social dialogue essential for the resolution of the current situation and, no doubt, impedes the progress towards Fiji's long overdue return to democracy.
We urge you to pass on our deep concern over the colleagues concerned to your Government and use your influence with the authorities to ensure that workers and their representatives in Fiji are allowed to exercise their democratic rights including the freedom of assembly and speech and peaceful protest without any interference from the state.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Issued: 7 November, 2011