19 Oct 2015

Fiji unions wait for ILO action

7:45 am on 19 October 2015

Two big unions in Fiji want the International Labour Organisation to see if the government is infringing on workers' rights.

This week the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions and the Fiji Trades Union Congress both refused to sign an ILO-required joint implementation report.

FICTU general secretary Attar Singh says they are concerned about how broad the government has defined 'essential services' which he says restricts strike action.

Fiji election candidate and former trade unionist, Attar Singh.

FICTU general secretary Attar Singh Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

Mr Singh says there are also currently potential restrictions on the right to freedom of association.

Mr Singh says the unions will now leave it to the ILO to decide at its next meeting in November, if it will begin a commission of inquiry.

"This is the highest level of investigative procedure that ILO can take. It is the ultimate in the ILO system and I think governments and organisations need to look at with that kind of seriousness. If the ILO does decide on that then it does mean that the Fiji government is violating rights which ILO would like member countries to observe."

Attar Singh says such a move could affect trade and jobs if the government doesnt meet ILO requirements.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs