Brussels, 2 March 2011 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC and Global Union Federations ITF and IUF have reacted strongly to intimidation and physical attacks against Felix Anthony, General Secretary of the Fiji Trade Union Congress and against other officials from FTUC affiliates.
Anthony is also General Secretary of the Sugar Workers’ Union which is affiliated to the ITF and the IUF. On 12 February, Anthony was taken from his home by 3 uniformed military officers and subjected to threats whilst being driven around the back roads of Lautoka for some 2 hours. His family, including children, were also threatened.
On 18 February, Anthony and other union officials from the sugar industry were called to meet the Fijian Prime Minister at a sugar mill in Ba, on the western side of Fiji. The union representatives were subsequently assaulted by military officers while still at the mill, then taken to Namaka military barracks and subjected to further beatings. As they were released from the barracks, they were again threatened with further violence.
“We have asked the International Labour Organisation to intervene with the Fiji authorities, and will be monitoring the situation very closely. This kind of behaviour from the Fiji regime is totally unacceptable, and is a serious violation of fundamental trade union rights,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 301 affiliated national organisations from 151 countries and territories.