The Fiji Mine Workers Union (FMWU) which has been on strike since 1991, made its submission to the Constitution Commission yesterday.
FMWU president Josefa Sadreu said their strike is considered to be the longest in history and is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records.
Sadreu said the reason for their submission is because they were promised resolution of their strike by some key people but nothing has mush eventuated despite follow ups.
The FMWU filed its complaints to the International Labour Organization (ILO) because the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution and the Human Rights Commission Act has interfered with the just rights of the Union members to seek redress in the courts under the Bill of Rights.
He said there is a perception that employment rights are no longer protected in Fiji.
“Because of our experiences in the past 21 years, the FMUW had made certain recommendations about the new constitution in Fiji,” said Sedreu.
Firstly, they want a protection and a promotion of labour rights as Fiji is a signatory to the ILO Conventions.
“One of the most important aspects of any Constitution in Fiji is that it should respect the rights Fiji has undertaken to protect under ILO.”
He said this international law should be protected by Constitution.
FMUW also proposed to include 1997 Constitutional protection for trade unions and fair labour practices.
Also, they wanted the constitution to have the requirement for a robust and independent Human Rights Commission and Ombudsman’s Office.
For an independent judiciary, the workers wanted rights to be properly protected there needs to be an independent judiciary and labour tribunals.
Sadreu said the tribunal members should also be independent of business interests.
FMWU also recommend for a protection of the Employment Relation Promulgation from Interference.
The Commission will receive submissions by October 10, 2012.
By Ropate Valemei