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Fiji Time: 8:38 AM on Friday 25 April

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Workers 'denied a voice'

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, January 18, 2013

THE decree governing the formation and make up of political parties will deny workers in the country a political voice, says Fiji Trade Union's Congress general secretary Felix Anthony.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Anthony said the decree also breached the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Core Convention on Freedom of Association which Fiji had ratified.

"Decree No. 4 of 2013 totally denies all trade unionists either elected or appointed, any political rights to be a member of a political party, to hold office of a political party, to engage in any political activity or to even indicate support for any political party," he said.

"This is a grave injustice and breach of human and workers' rights. This is tantamount to telling workers of this country that they cannot have a political voice of their own."

He said this was why the FTUC decided to form a political movement to champion their cause.

In announcing the new Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Decree 2013, Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said a public officer or trade official cannot be an applicant or a member of the proposed political party for the initial registration.

"For example if I am a general secretary for a trade union I also cannot be an official of a political party at the same time. I can be one or the other," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"The public officers include members of statutory boards, from the public service including the police, prisons, Republic of Military Force, officials from trade union movements, judges/magistrates and so forth," the Attorney-General said.