9 Aug 2005

Fiji Council of Trade Unions won't accept threats of fines

7:25 pm on 9 August 2005

The Fiji Council of Trade Unions says it is unacceptable that the Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, is proposing stiff new fines for unions engaged in strikes.

The president of the CTU, Maika Namudu says the trade union movement will not tolerate threats of fines of up to 60,000 U.S. dollars for what the minister calls illegal strikes.

He says the trade unions won't take it lying down and it could lead down a disastrous path.

Mr Namudu says the only reason people strike is because they've exhausted all other avenues of dealing with employers.

He says fining unions for striking when it is their right to do so is not the right way to go about things.

"Trying to penalise or arrest union leaders, I think they have to relook at that stance because I don't think it's going to be very, very useful, or bring about good industrial relations in the country."

Mr Namudu says the proposed fines need to come out of the new Employment Relations bill which is expected to