- April 6, 2021
The Fiji Trades Union Congress had lodged an application for a permit to march
and hold a rally in Suva on 1st May which has again been denied by Police, with no
written reason given. The reason given verbally was that there was concern about
the pandemic. We, of course do not believe this excuse as there are no restrictions
an any gatherings including sports and other recreational activities. This is purely
a political decision of Government as it does not wish to see any opposition to its
policies regarding workers and human rights. This is the sixth occasion where a
permit to march has been denied. We condemn this decision to deny workers
their fundamental right to assembly and to protest.
See letter attached : Letter from Police Permit-denied-06042021
May 1st is also known as Labour Day or May Day to commemorate the struggles
of workers all over the world. Here in Fiji, we are denied this right despite the
imposed Constitution guaranteeing these rights. May 1st is also the 2nd anniversary
of the termination of more than 2000 workers from Water Authority of Fiji. This
is the largest mass termination of workers in Fiji’s history.
The Fiji Trades Union Congress has for the last 6 years campaigned:
1. For a decent minimum wage of $4.00
2. Against the imposition of Individual Contracts on Civil Servants and Teachers and Workers in Government owned entities.
3. Government’s continued failure to honor an Agreement to review Labour
4. Workers’ right to strike
5. In support of ATS workers’ plight and Fiji Airways employees
6. In support of Vatukoula Striking workers since 1991
These are very fundamental issues for workers in Fiji.
Despite the Government giving repeated assurances to the ILO and the UN Human
Rights Council of full respect for workers and human rights, this Government
clearly has no intention of honoring its commitments. The most recent ILO report
of the Committee of Experts had also called on Government to allow workers the
right of assembly and peaceful protest. This again has been ignored by
Government. Yet when Government is called upon to answer to the violations of
workers’ rights, it has unashamedly claimed to uphold these rights. This two-faced
approach by this Government is shameful, to say the least. We call on
Government to explain its position.
The FTUC will meet shortly to decide on the next course of action and consider
how to pursue its concerns and will do so without giving up.
We call upon Government to review its decision and allow workers the right to
assemble and march on 1st May as is allowed elsewhere in this world.
We call on all workers to remain united and committed to fighting the injustices
that this Government has heaped on workers and their families.