#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Renewed trade talks with Fiji risks 'legitimising an oppressive regime'

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Renewed trade talks with Fiji risks 'legitimising an oppressive regime'

The Australian Council of Trade Unions says the decision to renew a textile, clothing and footwear scheme will do nothing to improve the lives of poorly paid workers.

ACTU president Ged Kearney says the agreement which gives unfettered access to Australia’s markets – the largest market for Fijian textile products – will merely legitimise an oppressive regime that has persistently flouted human rights in the face of international and local opposition.

She says by extending the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA), the Australian Government is putting the theoretical benefits of free trade above the everyday intimidation, harassment and oppression of real people in Fiji.

In a statement the union says the trade agreement means better profits for textile businesses in Fiji who operate in an environment 'where draconian laws are being strategically implemented across the economy, denying workers’ rights, keeping wages unfairly low and flouting basic democratic freedoms.'

The textile industry in Fiji has a poor history of anti-worker lobbying, opposing minimum wage increases and applying for exemptions for having to pay any wage rises its workers were entitled to.

ACTU says the industry also has a poor track record on labour and safety standards and claims by the industry of playing an important role in alleviating poverty are masking serious cases of exploitation of Fijian workers.

Kearney: “The agreement signed in the so-called interests of textile industry in Fiji merely subjects its workers to further entrenchment of human rights violations as such an agreement legitimises and protects the Bainimarama regime. 

"It makes an absolute mockery of the Australian Government’s so called stance against the illegal government’s rule.

“This decision is in stark contrast to the stand the Australian Government has taken on excluding Fiji from regional negotiations on a new trade agreement until there is a return to democracy and human rights in Fiji.”

The ACTU and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia will be calling on all businesses, operating with or within Fiji, to demonstrate to Australian consumers that they are not profiteering from the plight of textile workers in Fiji.

Michele O’Neil, National Secretary of the TCFUA, has endorsed ACTU's stand: “This decision does nothing to support workers either here in Australia or Fiji.  Clearly the Federal Government has listened to business leaders to profiteer from an increasingly isolated and oppressive Government.”

Fiji's illegal Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabola says textile, clothing and footwear industry cannot rely on Australia or other countries' tariffs or policies for its survival.

He told Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Fiji's TCF sector needs to implement reforms to diversify and improve its competitiveness.

It's believed the TCF industry employs 2,500 people directly and more than 16,000 indirectly.


Anonymous said...

Ged Kearney must be blind, deaf and totally dumb. The clothing factories in Fiji employ over 5000 workers who are able to earn a decent income for their families. Many rely on the industry to run their homes. It is ACTU who is trying to destroy the incomes by calling for trade bans. Are you protecting the workers or playing politics for the idiots like Urai and Felix. Stay out of Fiji affairs, Fiji is on track for democracy and we dont give a shit about you guys. You Australians need Fiji more than we need you, your exporters have too much to lose if Fiji bans Australian imports. Ged, you arent even aware that LDC countries have far better trade access into Australia than the Pacific island countries. These countries are third world and pay far far lower wages and poorest of working conditions. Fiji has OHS and minimum wage laws, we have some world class manufacturers in Fiji who produce better quality than some of the factories in Australia and of course your back yard operators who are exploited by the big brands.Clean up you own backyard, go yell in China, Cambodia, Vietnem, Bangladesh, Pakistan. These are the biggest exporters of clothing in Australia compared to Fiji drop in the ocean portion of your total imports.
The Australian Govt also knows you are playing politics for your own political mileage, they know that they must keep a good relation with Fiji and they will not do anything stupid to harm the working people and destabilise the country like you fools are trying to do.

Kai Tholo. said...

Time fake ratu Kubuabolo & others realised their not part of the solution - their the problem.
Find his false sympathy for thousands of ordinary workers laughable - these thousands of ordinary workers futures wouldn't be at risk if not for people like him. Kubuabola - you don't even speak for Taveuni never mind Viti.

Anonymous said...

Difficult to resolve the issue of wages for the people particularly garment factory when Solanki is in cahoots with the AG who controls (not Bole) PS Waqa

mark manning said...

It seems indefensible, a Democratically Elected Government, supporting an illegal Regime.
I wonder what it was that made the Australian Government take this stand.
I suspect someone has been paid under the table.

Anonymous said...

at least the move from Australian governemnt has saved the job losses for garment workers and other related industries

Rishab said...

so the extension of SPARTECA will not help the poor workers but the cancellation would have....who are these brainy people

Anonymous said...

Unlike the people of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, the people of Fiji have kept whisper quite as the bulk of their rights have been stripped away. So,since you all are happy to have your rights shrunk, even your pensions heavily siphoned off, then face the consequences. Without doubt,the best thing Australia can do under the circumstances is restore SPARTECA's offerings to Fiji. This is a generous move by the Good Samaritan of the region.

I suspect the Fiji populace still have tons of tolerance left for more of their rights to be diminished without even a whimper. Go Baini Go!

JB said...

Australia has just supported an illegal regime despite making public statements that it does not support Frank and his Dictatorship. Quite the opposite!

Aust has just stepped on the heads of Fijian workers who are employed in this industry as slaves!

You can say that Aust has saved the jobs of these workers - but with the draconian labour decrees, it would be better not to sign the agreement and let the people suffer so that they can realise how they have been manipulated by this illegal regime.

You have to suffer first before you will reap the benefits of a democratically elected government. Period!

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous Dec 29, 10:08am and
@ anonymous Dec 29, 8:00pm

Drau kubu ga vei nomudrau Boso o bainimarama na CONMAN.... Dou veivutu sara vakaukauwa me dua vei kemudou e bukete!!!!

Anonymous said...

whats the issue about wages, they have been going up every year, thanks to the monk Kevin Barr who is in cahoots with Frank, Govt as well as the unions. he is the real politician and mastermind manipulating them all

Anonymous said...

hey - at least this helps the survival of garment jobs......remember that businesses create jobs not unions!
So before any more blah blah blahs ask the garment worker in Fiji whether they are prepared to lose their jobs for your stupid idealism.

Anonymous said...

Can't people see that what is morally right to the common man is different from what world leaders actually do? Just see what USA did recently.The Yemeni President killed hundreds of pro-democracy activists who went against him without any qualms whatsoever and USA went on record to bitterly criticise and condemned him.

Yet on the same breath...USA is going to welcome him with open arms for open heart surgery on US soil to save his valuable life!!!Is the USA for real???

Well if USA...tha champion of world democracy can do that...why are we jumping up and down when Australia gave some leeway to the same regime it has been bad mouthing from Day One.

As I said from above...world politics can sometimes be a differnet kettle of fish altogether and for us the grass roots...?What can we do?

Blue Belo said...

The people of Fiji have had more than ample time to display their displeasure with the illegal Bainivuaka regime. If the Fiji people are not prepared to lay their body on the line against the tyranny of Bainimarama's illegal takeover, well then they certainly deserve their lot.

It is indeed true that countries have certain traits and inevitably they get the government they deserve. For example, countries of the Arab Spring are so enthusiastic for freedoms, entitlements and rights, that they fight for it even against their military. In contrast, Fijians are docile and timid, quite content to silently watch as their enviable rights and freedoms are chain-sawed down by Bainimarama's ill-conceived ambitions (coup done to create a diversion and thus avoid a murder charge).

So, please don't point an accusing finger at Australia. Don't expect the Aussies and Kiwis to come and rescue you from your plight. No doubt, the inclusion by Fiji in SPARTECA at least helps keeps Fijians employed and families sustained. But charity begins at home. So my message is, "Wake-up Fiji" to the rights you are losing due to the illegal government.

Remember, countries like England for example took thousands of years and had to fight a civil war, even had to execute their king (King Charles) in order to get full rights for the citizens. But Bainimarama and his criminal lieutenants have spread a blanket of darkness over Fiji. Everybody's future is in jeopardy as a result. Rights and freedoms have been destroyed. It is vitally important that all in Fiji pull together to restore full rights and entitlements as existed pre-coup. Down with tyrants like the illegal PM!

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