World’s Worst Violators of Workers’ Rights


Rajeshwar Singh

FTUC Acting National Secretary

Fiji is once again in news for all the wrong reasons after being ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for denial and abuse of workers’ rights. This is the latest in rankings compiled by the International Trade Union Confederation and included on its website. The index is a compilation of reports analysed from a country’s varying degree of collective labour rights enjoyed by our workers and is reported globally. Fiji is the only Pacific island country rated alongside India, China and even Egypt.

Fiji is rated No. 5 which according to the ITUC Index means “No guarantee of rights. Countries with a rating of 5 are the worst countries in the world for workers to work in…workers have effectively no rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes….

This is shameful and more reason for the FTUC’s continuous laborious calls to the government to shape up and stop the violation of workers’ rights.

Legislations such as the Essential National Industries that limits the rights of workers in the mining, aviation, pine and other industries shows how low the government has stooped to restrain workers from fighting for their legitimate rights and expectations.

The FTUC would like to remind the government that every action made against the Fiji worker, no matter how ordinary is taken into account by our sisters and brothers in the union movement across the globe.

Our workers have suffered enough.  The latest (amendment) regulation under ERP by Legal Notice No.11 dated 28th February 2014 is a serious indictment by the Regime for offering a pittance of $2.00 an hour as the National Minimum Wage.  The restraining of rights through ENI, the shutting down of workers’ political voices through the Political Parties (Amendment) Decree 2014, the laying off of more workers in recent times, these and more are daily reminders of the despair faced by the poorest of the working poor.

The FTUC calls on the government to restore the rights of workers and provide a ray of hope for more than half of the population of Fiji struggling to put bread on the table.

Fiji’s rating is a disgraceful reflection of government’s lack of concern for the working poor who deserve to toil with dignity.

FTUC PR( 66-06-14) World’s Worst Violatiors of Workers’ Rights

ITUC Lobbies for Action on Fiji : RNZI

(Picture : wikimedia)



The International Trades Union Congress is pressing for fair trade sugar in Fiji to be stripped of its label.

The ITUC which has just met in Brussels has placed Fiji among the world’s worst countries for workers on its Global Rights Index.

The Congress’ president Sharan Burrow told Sally Round the ITUC does not believe there will be free and fair elections in Fiji and it is appalled at the inaction of the Australian and New Zealand governments over the issue.

SHARAN BURROW: You have a situation here where the world knows that this government is a dictatorship, that it’s actually simply repressing people’s human rights but of course workers’ rights and the decrees that it’s initiated, the forcing of electoral rules that are in the interests of the government, there is no commitment to free and fair democratic elections and workers of course fear for their jobs when they choose to exercise demands for their own rights. So Fiji is not a country where workers can feel confident that they’ll be treated with respect, that they’ll be paid fair wages or indeed that their rights will be respected or that compliance mechanisms will work in the interests of justice.

SALLY ROUND: Yet the constitution does provide for protection for workers and there is quite a comprehensive Bill of Rights in this latest constitution that the government has produced, yet your index still rates Fiji very low.

SB: Well if you’re on the ground you know that this government has done everything possible to avoid having a free and fair democratic environment, whether it’s the elections, whether it’s the implementation of rights, whether it’s the fundamental capacity of workers to have freedom to even meet and talk about the issues that concern them. In order to register as a political party, to stand for elections, we’ve even seen worker representatives forced out of their union jobs. There’s no sense of independence, no sense of freedom. We will pursue a commission of inquiry at the ILO in to fundamental rights in Fiji.

SR: Why is Fiji the only Pacific island country on your index? Papua New Guinea for example has a huge labour force, why wasn’t PNG included?

SB: If the Pacific Island countries aren’t on the index it’s because we probably don’t have systematic data for them. While I don’t have the index in front of me there is still a huge difference between Fiji and the other island nations.

The rest of the interview can be retrieved through the following link: