|FINGERED: Dictator Bainimarama.|
Global support today for the plight of Fiji workers, including trade unionists Felix Anthony, Daniel Urai and Danesh Goundar who've been charged under the PER by the regime.
The UK based TUC is taking part in a demonstration outside the Fiji High Commission in London as part of a global protest at the arrest and court appearance of one of the country's leading trade union officials.
In astatement, titled 'Trouble in paradise for Fijian workers', it says union leader Daniel Urai is in court charged with holding an illegal meeting with his members as the military dictatorship that has run Fiji since 2006 steps up its repression of independent voices calling for democracy and reform.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Fiji may look like a tropical paradise, but it's anything but that for anyone who opposes the vicious military dictatorship. We want the Fijian regime to wake up tomorrow and know that the world is watching, horrified at their attacks on peaceful and constructive trade unionists.'
The statement continues with: "Over the past five years, unions have led the challenge to the military dictatorship which has run Fiji's economy into the ground and made it an international pariah, and seen it suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum. The EU has also suspended its overseas aid programme and will consider further moves at the end of September.
Recently Fiji's military dictatorship has started to crack down on opposition groups like the unions and the Methodist Church, refusing to allow them to hold meetings, getting rid of workers' rights in the public sector and banning strikes in any sector the regime declares 'essential' like sugar farming and tourism.
Foreign Office Minister David Lidington condemned the arrest of Daniel Urai in August, saying 'the UK government believes this action will increase further Fiji's isolation from the international community. The right to assemble peacefully is at the heart of a functioning democracy and helps to improve long-term social, political and economic stability.'
At 4pm today (Thursday in the UK but Friday and the day of the court case in Fiji), the TUC is meeting with the Charge d'Affaires at the Fijian High Commission. The delegation will hand over a letter from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber outlining the TUC's concerns at the regime's clampdown on workers' rights which are currently being investigated by the International Labour Organisation, the UN body dealing with the world of work.