Fijian union leaders arrested after a strike at Starwood hotels
Union leaders from the National Union of Hospitality Catering and Tourism Industries were arrested on January 9 and charged as a result of what the government claims to have been an "unlawful strike" that took place on New Year's Eve at Sheraton Fiji Resort and Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa (both owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.) at Narewa village, Fiji.
While management and the union were seeking to settle their differences together, the government declared the strike illegal and arrested the leadership of the union - including the General Secretary of the IUF-affiliated National Union of Hospitality, Catering & Tourism Industries Employees, Dan Urai, who is also President of the Fiji Trades Union Congress. Now Dan and other leaders are out of jail but harsh bail conditions prevent them from exercising their role and their rights as union leaders and from international travel.
Although it is believed Starwood played no direct role in Dan's imprisonment, the Company was responsible for workers taking action as a result of management's unilateral withdrawal of workers' benefits.
Starwood management can also use their influence to persuade the authorities to drop the case against Dan and other union leaders.
Fiji has been run by a military dictatorship since a 2008 coup. It constantly attacks workers' rights and trade union freedoms. It wrongly believes these attacks will silence unions as the country heads for upcoming elections.