Tuesday, July 19, 2011

[pima.nius] NEW ZEALAND UNIONS VOW SOLIDARITY WITH FIJI WORKERS

2:43 PM |


NEW ZEALAND UNIONS VOW SOLIDARITY WITH FIJI WORKERS

Threaten sanctions if members suffer retaliation

http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2011/July/07-19-04.htm

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 18, 2011) – The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions says it'll step up action in support of Fiji unions if leaders like Felix Anthony are further victimised by the Fiji regime.

Fifteen unions met the senior Fiji trades union official yesterday.

He told them of increased intimidation of union workers by the Fiji military and increasing curbs on union activity.

The secretary of the New Zealand Council Peter Conway says unions representing maritime and airline workers may place bans or boycotts on services to Fiji and any action may be brought forward if Mr Anthony's targeted when he returns home.

"We're not ruling action out or in. Our preference would be that there is action but we're a democratic movement and that has to be discussed with members and we're also aware that when you take action of this sort you need to have broad public support."

Mr Conway says he'll seek support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enable Mr Anthony to return home safely.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
Copyright © 2010 RNZI. All Rights Reserved


NZ Unions consider action against Fiji

Updated July 19, 2011 09:24:54

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is meeting with its Australia counterpart today and decide if it interrupts flights to Fiji.

Australia's Transport Workers Union has warned it will disrupt flights to Fiji from Wednesday unless Qantas protects its workers from state sanctioned violence in the country.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is expected soon decide if it takes any action against Fiji.


Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Peter Conway, secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

CONWAY: We're very concerned about the physical intimidation and beatings of union officials in Fiji and also the decrees that remove work rights. So the issues we're looking at are approaches to the International Labour Organisation, to our own government, to employers that have got trade links in meat and dairy and travel with Fiji. And certainly we have been discussing what sort of bans or other industrial action might be appropriate. We don't quite have the direct linkage that Qantas does with 49 per cent shareholding in Air Pacific, but nonetheless we are looking at a broad range of things, but we need to talk to members about those approaches before anything would be put into place.

COUTTS: And those discussions will decide whether you will take action or not?

CONWAY: Well really we need to go through a process where we prepare good information, where members get the chance to debate the issues and look at them before deciding what sort of action is appropriate. We also have to take into account any of the commercial issues, legal issues and so forth. So we won't be rushing into things. The only thing that might change that is if the action of the Fijian government upon the return of some of these visiting union officials was to harm their welfare or put them in prison or anything like that. That would be a matter of extreme concern to us. So we welcome what the Transport Workers Union of Australia are doing, we've been in constant touch with the ACTU about this matter, but we're not quite at the stage of saying right, this is the industrial action we're ready to take, because we haven't gone through enough of a process yet to get to that stage.

COUTTS: Well the visiting officials that you're referring to of course, one of which is Felix Anthony from the Fiji Trades Union Congress. But how long have you been aware of the alleged abuses of the airline workers and baggage handlers etc., in Fiji?

CONWAY: Well we've been aware of it for some time. I was up in Fiji at a meeting of unions in early February, it was later that week that Felix Anthony was beaten up, and we were briefed on the situation then. I have gone round and met with Air New Zealand, with the meat industry here, others have met the dairy industry, and we've talked to travel agents warning them that the whole situation in Fiji is deteriorating with these decrees and the suppression of trade union rights, and warned them it could spill over into a commercial arena. Now that was just a heads up, we're now at the stage where we have to actually talk more concretely.

COUTTS: Alright you have just mentioned that point that you are going to have more discussions. When will they take place and if the union workers are in support of sanctions or whatever you decide against Fiji, when will they take place?

CONWAY: To be honest I can't put a date on that. We've got meetings with employer organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and we've got to hook up with the ACTU today. So we just have to wait until we've gone through a proper process. So I can't put a precise date on when it would be, I'm sorry.

COUTTS: But it may include other unions?

CONWAY: We're the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, the umbrella body, so the unions we're talking about are affiliates to our organisation.

COUTTS: Alright now what might be some of the actions and sanctions you would consider?

CONWAY: Well I don't really want to get into that in a lot of detail, but obviously industrial action goes right the way through from calling for bans on certain types of activity, holding up activity to more extreme measures. But those are things that we would have to assess with the members concerned.

COUTTS: There are those are concerned, as you mentioned concerns that Fiji's tourism industry is one of the major money earners for it, and by having these sanctions it might disrupt the tourism industry thereby hurting the ordinary person, the mums and dads in Fiji that are the innocent parties to all of this?

CONWAY: Yeah and that's always a risk with this sort of action which is why we think we need broad public support in New Zealand for any action that's taken, and we need to be sure that this has been called for by the Fijians and certainly the unions yesterday when we discussed that point with them, the Fiji union said look, we know the risks but we've reached the stage that we either speak out and call for support or we just have to roll over and let these dreadful things carry on, and they're simply not prepared to do that. So it's not risk free but that's often the choices we face.

COUTTS: And part of this as you said to protect Felix Anthony on his return to make sure that nothing does happen to him?

CONWAY: Well he's one of a number of officials, he's at pains to say it's not all about him. Our focus however has to be on that, plus the decrees that have gone through but are proposed that would remove current union officials from their jurisdiction and really severely restrict the ability of unions to function there at all.


--
----------------------------------------
pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
----------------------------------------
The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information regarding the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA). Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications to keep you informed about aspects of the media industry. 

These emails are unedited and discussions made through this googlegroup are unmoderated. Announcements made through this googlegroup do not constitute endorsement for the organisations, individuals or opinions featured. Please check the integrity of organisations and individuals before exchanging personal information with them. 

--
----------------------------------------
pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
----------------------------------------
The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information. Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications.
 
DISCLAIMER: These emails are unedited and discussions made through this googlegroup are unmoderated. Announcements made through this googlegroup do not constitute endorsement for the organisations, individuals or opinions featured. Please check the integrity of organisations and individuals before exchanging personal information with them.
 
- - - - - - - - -
comment here:
http://groups.google.com/group/pima-nius/topics?hl=en
 
send an email comment here:
pima-nius@googlegroups.com
 
unsubscribe:
pima-nius+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
 
more options
http://groups.google.com/group/pima-nius?hl=en?hl=en
 
- - - - - - - - -

0 comments: