1 Mar 2005

Emplyment relations bill under attack in Fiji

11:09 am on 1 March 2005

The Fiji Islands Council of Trade Union has launched a scathing attack on the Qarase government's new Employment Relations Bill, saying it would severely erode workers' rights if enacted into law.

The general secretary of the council, Attar Singh, says the bill has fundamental flaws that will erode the rights of trade unions and their members.

Mr Singh says the removal of trade union recognition requirements, restrictions on the right to strike and direct interference in the administration and internal affairs of trade unions will severely undermine unions and their members.

He says the Bill places severe restrictions on the right to strike by permitting strikes only for negotiating annual wage increases.

It forbids protests against unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancies and any other dispute.

Mr Singh says the Bill also forbids sympathy strikes in support of another union.

He says he hopes the government will change the bill before it is tabled in parliament in the April session.