27 Jun 2011

Draft law restricts unions in Fiji's vital industries

10:08 am on 27 June 2011

Fiji's interim government is planning a new law to restrict the work of unions in Fiji's so-called vital industries.

A decree is in the planning stages and Radio New Zealand International understands it says anyone representing workers in one of the critical corporations outlined in its schedule must also be an employee of that company.

The draft schedule includes the Fiji Sugar Corporation and companies involved in the airline industry.

The General Secretary of the Fiji Council of Trade Unions, Attar Singh, says he hasn't seen such a plan but fears any such change would make unions toothless.

"Generally the reason why unions are allowed to have leaders from outside the workplace is so that they can have someone who can speak openly and freely without fear of being victimised in the workplace and if that does happen it'll mean going back to the days when in house unions were driven by employers and the rights of the workers in those industries will be very very severely supressed."