19 Sep 2012

High-ranking ILO delegation ordered out of Fiji

9:26 pm on 19 September 2012

Trade unions in Fiji say a high-ranking delegation from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been ordered out of Fiji by the government.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress says the delegation, led by Judge Abdul Koroma of the International Court of Justice, was sent to look at labour laws in Fiji and the decrees that constrain fundamental rights of workers there.

Congress general-secretary Felix Anthonysays Fiji's interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama indicated the delegation would be welcome.

But Mr Anthony says the delegation's first meeting with the government on Monday was abandoned, and they were told on Wednesday to leave.

The ILO's regional office in Suva has confirmed the delegation is leaving early but has not provided any further details.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway says it is a serious setback to the review of Fiji's constitution ahead of elections in 2014.

He says free elections can't take place without basic rights for workers and freedom of speech.

Mr Conway says Fiji's military government has imposed decrees that severely constrain workers rights and unions were hoping the ILO delegation could press for them to be scrapped.