20 Sep 2012

ILO says Fiji regime's move only fuels solidarity with local unions

8:48 am on 20 September 2012

The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation has strongly condemned the Fiji interim government's decision to order out of the country an ILO delegation.

The ILO Contact Mission was to assess labour laws in Fiji and the decrees that place constraints on workers' rights.

The mission arrived on Sunday but the first meeting with the government on Monday was abandoned and on Wednesday it was ordered out of Fiji.

Juan Somavia says the move by the government only fuels international solidarity with the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions, and the Fiji Teachers' Association.

He says the unilateral decision also puts a greater spotlight on the critical situation of freedom of association in Fiji.

Juan Somavia says he is calls on the Fiji interim government to reconsider its position and continue collaborating with the ILO on these important matters for the international community.

He also added the ILO direct contacts mission on freedom of association, mandated by the ILO Governing Body, departed from Fiji without having completing its mandate.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand council of Trade Unions wants the government here to strongly condemn the action.

The Unions Secretary, Peter Conway, says the eviction of the ILO Mission is further evidence that there is no intention of allowing genuine democracy.

He says this latest step shows the New Zealand government was precipitate in agreeing to re-establish diplomatic links at High Commissioner level.