NGO Coalition on Human Rights
Towards a Fiji that respects and protects human rights
NGOCHR calls for Protection of Workers’ Rights
The NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) strongly condemns the harassment and arrests of trade unionists yesterday and stands in solidarity with the workers of Fiji.
“Workers and unionists should not be victimised or penalised for freely expressing their Freedom of Association and voicing their employment issues,” said NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh.
In the past few days, union representatives were taken into custody and detained by police including workers from the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF). Workers from WAF raised issues and questions regarding their contracts and termination of employment but this culminated with the involvement of riot police and a series of arrests. This also occurred in light of a planned peaceful demonstration by the Fiji Trades Union Congress this Friday to highlight workers’ issues including the national minimum wage, labour law reforms, the Right to Strike, Federated Airlines Staff Association (FASA) issues and opposing unilateral imposition of individual contracts.
“It is shocking and disgraceful that instead of celebrating International Workers’ Rights Day, also known as International Labour Day on May 1, it was marked with the detainment of workers and unionists,” said Ms. Singh.
“This is a blatant attack on workers’ rights and curtails the progress Fiji has made in human rights and democracy. ,” she added.
The NGOCHR calls for the protection of workers’ rights and the release of workers and unionists who have been detained by police.
“We urge authorities to protect workers’ rights and encourage peaceful negotiations with the workers to hear their issues and come to a solution that benefits everyone,” said Ms. Singh.
NGOCHR stands in solidarity with the workers of Fiji and the trade unions.
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Members of the NGOCHR include the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), FemLink Pacific and Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA). Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG), Social Empowerment and Education Program (SEEP), Haus of Khameleon (HoK) and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality Fiji (DIVA) are observers.