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Fiji: sugar workers ballot on strike action despite military and police intimidation

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The IUF-affiliated Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union (FSGWU) has just completed a strike ballot of its membership in the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC). Seven years of the FSC’s refusal to bargain, of violating labour laws and of breaking collective bargaining agreements left the union with no option.

After FSGWU filed its strike ballot notice, the FSC announced a token wage increase of 5.3%, way short of an increase that would cover the 40% decline in real wages that mill workers have suffered over the last seven years.

While the ballot was on-going, FSC management held meetings in all work stations to intimidate union members. On July 23, 2013 police and military officers turned up to add to the intimidation.

General Secretary Ron Oswald promised that the IUF would keep the situation under close review and would act to support FSGWU as necessary. The strike ballot results are expected shortly.

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