Challenges ahead for workers in Fiji

September 3, 2012

One of the world’s longest running strikes is happening in Fiji. Members of the Fiji Mine Workers Union (FMWU) in Vatukoula have been on strike for 21 years. While making a submissions to the Constitution Commission last month (Fiji is likely to get a new constitution –the nation’s fourth- next year) FMWU president Josefa Sadreu said no solution to the dispute had been reached since the government promised one in 2007.

“The reason we are making these submissions to the commission is because in 2007, when the current government took over, we were promised resolution of our strike…at a meeting held at the Fiji Human Rights Commission on 23rd April 2007,”

At that meeting, just five months after Commodore Frank Bainimarama ceased power in a military coup the future was looking uncertain for the Fijian labour movement. The history of Fiji, used by the British Empire as a sugar cane plantation worked by indentured Indian labourers, meant the island nation developed a much stronger organised labour movement than other Polynesian nations where pre-capitalist systems of production persisted. Read the rest of this entry »


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