9 Aug 2011

ILO send high level team to Fiji

1:56 pm on 9 August 2011

The International Labour Organisation is sending a high level delegation to Fiji this week to deal with what it's calling the grave trade union rights situation.

ILO chief Juan Somavia says he's seriously concerned about a new decree aimed at essential national industries and the arrest of two trade unionists.

Sally Round reports.

"The organisation's number two Guy Ryder will arrive in Fiji on Thursday with two others from the international body which draws up and oversees international labour standards. Fiji's party to all eight of the ILO's conventions upholding workers' basic rights, which unions say are being breached. The ILO says decree number 35 and the arrests come on top of its long-standing concerns about trade union rights in Fiji. In a statement, Mr Somavia says he's sending the team to advise him on how to help the parties involved deal with the issues in a constructive way. He says there's a danger the situation will deteriorate further and it's understood the ILO's hastily seeking meetings with Fiji's authorities. Amnesty International has also added it's voice to calls for the new law to be dropped. Fiji's interim government says the measures are needed to ensure the development, viability and sustainability of industries that are essential to the economy."