The Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions has accused the regime of double standards after it revoked FTUC's permit to hold a meeting to discuss the recent decrees.
Both FICTU and FTUC jointly articulated the union movement's position to the ILO delegation last week and argued strongly that the decrees need to be withdrawn as they were targeted to wipe out unions altogether.
"The recent Essential Industries Decree, the exclusion of public sector workers and their unions from the ERP coverage and the removal of check off are all very serious measures that need discussions which cannot be held without a meeting of the executives of any organisation. FTUC was trying to do just that, no more. Where was the need to revoke their permit for such an important meeting? Surely it would be in the regimes interest to ensure that everyone understood the decree," FICTU general secretary Attar Singh said.
Singh said FTUC had applied for the permit in good time yet the letter revoking the permit was hand delivered on the day of the meeting at the venue.
"This leaves no one in doubt about the regimes real intentions. It was not only preventing a meeting but also wanting to cause as much harm and inconvenience as possible to the FTUC, individual executives and the affiliated unions knowing that money would have been spent on making the meeting arrangements, travel and other costs," Attar Singh said.
He said yet the regime allowed the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation to have their meeting on the Friday to discuss the same decrees with their lawyers.
"They were obviously given a permit, or were they?"
Singh said FICTU also understands that the Boards and Committees of commercial company's meet regularly without permits even for their executive meetings.
"Why such double standards one may ask. FICTU calls on the regime to allow all unions to hold their meetings freely. There can be no justifiable reason to prevent unions from meeting to discuss routine matters or measures initiated by the regime itself," Singh said.