|STANDING UP: Sydney pro-democracy advocates.|
A show of strength today from the Fiji community in Sydney, at the rally outside the Fiji consulate.
As in New Zealand, the rally was part of a global day of action co-ordinated by the International Trade Union Confederation.
The Australian Council of Trade Union led today's Sydney march; ACTU has been running its own web campaign by LabourStart and Australian unions, with thousands of unionists from Australia and across the globe already sending protest emails to the Bainimarama Government.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence says Australians are outraged at the continued repression of human and worker rights by the military regime led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
“It is becoming increasingly unsafe for workers in Fiji to stand up for their rights, which are being removed systematically by Bainimarama as his military seizes control of workplaces.
"We will not sit back and allow the rights of Fijian workers to be trampled by this military regime.”
Lawrence says Australian unions condemned the arrest and subsequent court hearing of Daniel Urai and Danesh Gounder, as a violation of the rights of trade unions and Fiji’s international obligations.
In a show of support for workers in Fiji, the ACTU Executive recently resolved to support Fijian unions, including calling on the Bainimarama Government to restore workers’ rights by revoking the draconian Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree, and to hold democratic elections.
A delegation from the International Labour Organisation last month travelled to Fiji to investigate serious allegations of human and worker rights violations.
Lawrnece said: “Independent trade unions are needed in Fiji to deliver decent work to its people, 40% of whom live below the poverty line."
MUA National Secretary and ITF President Paddy Crumlin also condemned the Fijian Government for its ongoing attacks on the rights of union members and their leaders.
"In Fiji, not only are workers' rights being attacked but union leaders like Daniel Urai are being detained by the regime for speaking out.
"The MUA and ITF have a long history of fighting for the rights of union members around the world and we won't be stopping now."
TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said under the new decree, workers in some sectors had been totally disenfranchised of any rights, including the most fundamental entitlements.
“For instance, a Fijian baggage handler working 50-55 hour week for Qantas would lose up to half their pay, down to less than AU$90 a week. Qantas and Air Pacific just think they should stand by and collect profit. That is simply unacceptable."
|FIJI SUPPORT: For marginalised workers and unionists.|