13 Dec 2011

Trans-Tasman union delegation deported from Fiji

11:09 pm on 13 December 2011

A delegation of New Zealand and Australian trade unionists has been refused entry to Fiji and deported.

The group had wanted to meet with unions and employees to investigate alleged abuse of workers' rights in the Pacific Island nation.


Fiji's military government had already accused the delegation members from New Zealand's CTU and the ACTU of being biased.

When they arrived at Nadi airport on Tuesday their passports, and that of a journalist accompanying them were confiscated, along with their phones.

They were refused consular assistance and put back on a plane to Australia.

CTU president Helen Kelly is one of the four union delegates refused entry and says the treatment is typical of the military regime.

"The reason we were going was because they had said that until we get there, until we have the opportunity to see for ourselves, we shouldn't criticise what are some very serious stories coming out of Fiji.

"So taking them up on their invitation we did that, and then we were turned back."

Ms Kelly says the delegation will not try to return to Fiji.

The president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Daniel Urai, who was meant to meet the delegation, says the deportation is illegal.