12 Sep 2011

Fiji unions say new decree omits sugar industry for fear of sugar worker unrest

2:14 pm on 12 September 2011

President of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Daniel Urai, says the sugar sector's been excluded from a controversial new law, governing labour in the country's vital industries, because of fears over worker unrest.

The interim government implemented the Essential National Industries Decree last week with a list of those enterprises it deemed essential.

The decree includes four foreign-owned banks and publicly owned telecommunications and civil aviation enterprises, as well as the Fiji Electricity Authority and the Water Authority of Fiji.

The interim regime says the sugar industry's not included right now because it wouldn't be productive to interrupt the crushing season while it's in full swing.

Mr Urai says everyone knows how much the country depends on the sugar industry.

"It's all bull. What I can see is that they fear some action taken by the sugar industry workers. (It's) because they feel it is important that Fiji sugar must be sold this year in order to bring about the revenue that they so much require that (is why) they now are not touching the sugar industry."

Daniel Urai says the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority is also a shocking addition to the list of vital industries.