Australian transport workers have threatened to disrupt flights to fiji to protest rights violations by the country’s military government. The Australian Transport Workers’ Union has said it will delay or even stop flight between the two nations if the Fijian government continues to abuse Fijian workers. The Australian union claims the military powers have systematically attacked the rights and wages of workers. It hope that by threatening to halt flights to the country, the Fijian Tourism Association will take action to protect baggage handlers and trade unionists in the country.
Felix Anthony, from the Fiji Trades Union Congress, told ABC News that he has been detained and beaten by soldiers questioning the union’s loyalty to the military administration.
Qantas is also under pressure to ensure the protection of its Fijian staff and thos of Air Pacific in which it is a minority stakeholder alongside the Fijian government.
An ATWU spokesman called on Australian to support the Fijian workers. “We’re calling on the Australian community to standby the Fijian community – not just the sun and surf – but give them an opportunity to enjoy the freedom and rights that we take for granted,” he said.
Fiji Tourism responded to the threat by saying a boycott of flights would jeopardise the income of 45,000 people who rely on tourism for the livelihood. Quoted by FBC, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says workers rights are protected in the country however certain union leaders are painting a false picture of realities on the ground to suit their agenda.