23 Sep 2005

Vanuatu workers union to go ahead with demonstration

1:24 pm on 23 September 2005

Vanuatu's National Workers Union is reportedly planning on a large street demonstration even if it fails to get a permit to do so.

The Daily Post says the Union's Secretary General, Ephraim Kalsakau, has indicated that preparations are well advanced for tomorrow's planned demonstration in Port Vila.

The union has submitted a third application for a demonstration to petition the government after the acting Police Commissioner, Lieutenant Colonel Aru Maralau, rejected the last one.

The Union says the demonstration was originally about the sacking of 26 Air Vanuatu employees, but is now about promoting the rights of the country's workers.

Mr Kalsakau also says the issue is no longer about arbitration in the airline dispute alone because that dispute had been registered and the Labour Commissioner, Lionel Kaluat, had been handling the issue.

He says more than 1,000 workers have been mistreated, discriminated against or even lost their jobs because of trade union membership.