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Unions concerned about possible coup in Fiji

Joint Media Release

Australian Council of Trade Unions & New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Sunday 3 December 2006

Unions concerned that a coup in Fiji could damage its economy and lead to job losses: joint Aust-NZ call for negotiated settlement

The Australian Council of Trade Unions and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions today issued a joint call for the military and the Government of Fiji to negotiate a peaceful settlement that would maintain the country’s democracy.

Australian and New Zealand unions are concerned that a military takeover could significantly damage the Fijian economy and lead to a major loss of jobs that could seriously disadvantage large numbers of working families in Fiji.

The Australian and New Zealand peak union bodies also expressed their strong support for the working people of Fiji and their solidarity with the Fiji Trade Union Council.
The President of the ACTU, Sharan Burrow and the President of the NZCTU, Ross Wilson, said jointly:

"We all remember the devastation that resulted from the coup of 2000 in Fiji.

There was considerable damage to the economy, a major loss of jobs and it caused despair among Fiji’s working families.

No one wants a repeat of that experience.

We call on both the military and the Government to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the country’s political tensions.

This is the only possible solution that would ensure the stability of Fiji.

Democracy requires that all people in power operate in the interests of peace, social cohesion, equal treatment of all citizens and respect for the law.

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The military is an important institution that plays a key role in the country but it should work in cooperation with the Government.

We call on the President and the Vice President of Fiji to use their constitutional power to protect the democratic rights of Fiji’s citizens.

Union members in Australia and New Zealand want Fiji to be a democratic nation with the country's leaders dedicated to the rule of law, political stability and economic growth.

The Fiji Trade Union Council and its leaders, Felix Anthony and Rajeshwa Singh have our full support and unions in Australia and New Zealand stand ready to assist the working
people of Fiji," said Ms Burrow and Mr Wilson.

Ends.

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