14 Dec 2011

CTU president says Fiji regime's ban helps union campaign

4:19 pm on 14 December 2011

The President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Helen Kelly says her return trip to Fiji yesterday has helped unions in their campaign against the regime.

Ms Kelly and her Australian counterpart were among a group planning to meet civil society groups and unions over alleged human and labour rights abuses in Fiji.

The interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum ordered them to be turned away as he said the group was biased.

Ms Kelly says Mr Sayed Khaiyum has heightened publicity for their campaign by hitting out at the union leaders.

"But we're not taking responsibility for his behaviour or for that regime. He can turn it back on us. We're a democratic organisation within a civil society that allows for unions to operate effectively. He can't live up to that standard so instead he's making it personal."

Helen Kelly says the CTU will step up protests and publicity aimed at urging people to consider international labour rights in Fiji before they shop, travel or get married in the country.