Rengo - Japanese Trade Union Confederation - made a request to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan concerning the stoppage of the violations of the basic workers rights in Fiji on November 9. In spite of the fact that Fiji ratifies ILO Conventions No. 87 on freedom of association and the protection of the right to organize and No. 98 on the right to organize and the right to collective negotiation, strict restrictions are imposed upon holding of trade union meetings and, in some industries, industrial actions are forbidden and collective agreements are declared invalid. Violence against and unjust arrests of trade union officials are rampant.
In response to such a situation, General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo met Mr. Ryuji Yamane, Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and handed over a letter of request addressed to the Foreign Minister, in which RENGO requested the Japanese government “to strongly urge the military government in Fiji to immediately release FTUC president Daniel Urai and General Secretary Felix Anthony as well as to immediately stop violation against workers basic rights and unjust violence against trade union officials.
November 9, 2011
Mr. Koichiro Gemba
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Dear Mr. Gemba,
Re: Letter of Request for Stoppage of Violations of Basic Workers Rights in Fiji
It is recalled that, in Fiji, a bloodless coup d’etat was carried out by the commander in chief of the military force in December 2006 and he took office as interim prime minister in January 2007 and started a transitional government. In April 2009, with the abolition of the Constitution, all the judicial judges were dismissed and moreover “Public Emergency Regulations” including restrictions on publication, broadcasting and assembly were promulgated. Under the Regulations, trade unions are strictly restricted to hold any meetings and violence against trade union officials are presently rampant.
Mr. Daniel Urai, president of Fijian Trade Union Congress (FTUC), was once arrested in August this year in the name that the meeting he had had with the members of his organization in order to discuss about a collective negotiation in advance was accused of constituting an illegal one. At the same time, Mr. Felix Anthony, general secretary of FTUC, was taken to the military headquarters after he had met with the prime minister on February this year and he was severely beaten there and in a barracks where he was taken thereafter he as assaulted again. And again, after coming back to Fiji from Perth in Australia where they had attended a meeting of the British Commonwealth of Nations, President Urai and General Secretary Anthony were successively arrested on October 29 and November 4 respectively without being shown any reasons.
Such a violation of basic trade union rights and violence against trade union officials should not be permitted no matter whatever reason there are. RENGO resolutely oppose the Fiji military government together with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to which RENGO affiliates and strongly demands to secure basic trade union rights and free trade union activities in FIJI.
Viewing such a serious situation in Fiji, RENGO requests the Japanese government to take following measures:
Japanese Trade Union Confederation