From the TUC

What has the Fijian Government got to hide?

13 Dec 2011, By

Helen Kelly, President of the New Zealand CTU. Photo NZTEU

A union delegation from Australia and New Zealand – including the Presidents of both the ACTU and NZCTU, Ged Kearney and Helen Kelly – has this morning been refused entry to Fiji by a regime which says it respects union rights and democratic freedoms. Clearly they don’t. Clearly the Fijian Government has something to hide.

Over the last fortnight, the Fijian Government has repeatedly threatened both trade union movements that they would be denied entry, and has refused the delegation authorisation to meet with trade unions while in Fiji (yes, that’s right, you need Government permission to hold a meeting in Fiji, and they have increasingly been banned and, when held anyway, broken up: hardly the hallmark of a free country). Tellingly, from a Government that says it believes in free speech and open-ness, the delegation had their phones confiscated before they were turned back at Suva airport – as if that will prevent a torrent of negative publicity as soon as they reach Sydney!

Helen Kelly, NZCTU President, is also a worker member of the ILO Governing Body (which actually conveys diplomatic status on her, so the Fijian regime’s actions are doubly dubious). The ILO has already condemned the Fijian Government’s repressive approach to workers’ rights and trade union freedoms, and Fiji is currently suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum. You can protest about Fijian attacks on unions on the ACTU website and find out more about the situation on the TUC website.