Thursday August 11, 2011
Women oppose the Essential National Industries Decree
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement opposes the recently promulgated Essential National Industries Decree because it will exacerbate already existing vulnerabilities of Fiji’s paid working women.
“We strongly disagree with any decree that compromises women’s employment rights,” says the Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo.
Article 23(4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) establishes the right to join a trade union. Any attempt to limit this right is an abuse of human rights.
FWRM questions the Interim Regime’s commitment to uphold the ratified ILO Convention No. C87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention 1948 and No. C98 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining 1949.
Under these ILO Conventions and the UDHR both women and men in Fiji enjoy the freedom to be part of trade unions.
“The Essential National Industries Decree contradicts both its international obligations as well as its own Employment Relations Promulgation. It seriously undermines workers’ rights in Fiji.”
According to Buadromo, “the Essential National Industries Decree breaches workers’ human rights as it compromises their ability to bargain on a level playing field with the employer. It also removes independent grievance processes for aggrieved trade union members”.
Buadromo further adds that “an erosion of these fundamental rights and freedoms will put workers especially disadvantaged women at risk of exploitation and unfair treatment. Majority of women in Fiji are found in industries with poor pay and working conditions and therefore requires stronger and secure collective bargaining rights. These are just some of the many factors that will ultimately increase their vulnerability to poverty”.
“We urge the Interim Regime to have meaningful consultations with all stakeholders in order to find mutually beneficial processes to help workers, employers and the economy.”
*FWRM is a member of the NGO Coalition on Human Rights