16 May 2003

Fiji Trade Unione Congress angered over arrest of workers

3:21 pm on 16 May 2003

The Fiji Trade Union Congress says the arrests of a group of Goodman Fielder employees in Suva this week for staging a strike reflect the government's intent to curtail the rights of workers.

Fiji police arrested 40 workers of the National Union of Factory and Commercial Workers for taking part in what the Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck termed an "illegal strike" in protest at the sacking of a fellow employee.

The TUC's general secretary, Felix Anthony, says the minister does hardly anything about employers who breach the Employment Act and collective bargaining agreements.

But Mr Anthony says Mr Zinck has moved swiftly to act against employees, hoping that the incident would discontinue...

"Unfortunately that's not what's happened ...and the normal course for the Minister to have acted in such a matter would have been to attempt to resolve the matter as fast as possible and if not successful then declare it illegal and refer it to a third party...and he has not done that"

The TUC's general secretary, Felix Anthony.

Meanwhile, management at Goodman Fielder have refused to comment on the incident.