Act now! Make Fiji’s military dictatorship feel the heat
We’ve written before about the Fiji military dictatorship’s appalling human rights record and its harassment of trade union leaders. Most recently, the regime extended the ban on strikes (and effective ban on freedom to join a union) to cover the wood chip industry which is one of Fiji’s biggest export industry (as well as fire prevention, local government and the airports), and then declared a strike at the Fiji Sheraton illegal and arrested the union leaders involved, even though the walkout had been ended by management agreeing to negotiations.
This behaviour has led the global trade union movement to draw up charges for an ILO Commission of Inquiry addressing the regime’s contravention of fundamental worker rights, as well as launching an e-action aimed at persuading the Starwood hotel chain (which owns the Fiji Sheraton) to press for the charges against union leaders to be dropped. And now we’re urging you to join a new LabourStart e-action to tell the Fijian government to back off. Within 100 minutes of its launch this evening, 1,000 people took the action!
The tourism industry in Fiji is one of its biggest foreign currency earners, which is why the Sheraton workers’ New Year’s Eve walkout triggered such a hysterical response. Unite, which is the union representing hotel workers at Starwood hotels in the UK, is backing the campaign, as are hotel workers’ unions around the world, organised through the global union federation IUF.
An ILO Commission of Inquiry would be the first step towards taking the Fijian military dictatorship to the UN Court of Human Rights, and it requires the support of not just the unions, but the governments and employers on the 42-strong ILO Governing Body, which means we may need to get the Coalition and the CBI on board (they’ve both joined previous condemnations of Fijian repression of trade unions, so this may not be an impossible ask.) The UK is unusual, though not unique, in having a member of all three groups on the Governing Body.Amnesty International, who condemned the arrest of the hotel workers’ union leaders, also backs the case for a Commission of Inquiry.