27 Feb 2006

Current workers have right to be safe at work, says Vanuatu Abattoirs manager

4:42 pm on 27 February 2006

The manager of Vanuatu Abattoirs Ltd has criticised union action, saying her workers have the right to be safe from violence and harassment.

Jeanette James has confirmed that she and other Abattoir employees were detained against their will for up to eight hours at the factory last Thursday by a small group which included disgruntled former employees.

The unionists were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, unlawful imprisonment, and attempted arson, but later released on bail.

Ms James says while, to her knowledge, no official claims have been lodged by the unionists, they are not going the proper way about their call for decent work practices...

"And they're saying workers rights, well there are also rights for the workers who are employed and are doing a good job. They don't need to be intimidated. We've had a doctor come out to speak to all the staff on Friday. This is not the first action that's been taken. We've had vehicles stolen, staff chased with rocks and knives in June last year. We've got court orders in place against the very people that came back on Thursday."

Meanwhile, the board of the mainly government-owned company has brought in private security workers to guard the premises.