"THE ACTU yesterday called for the suspension of Swaziland from the commonwealth over its record on workers' rights.
ACTU president Ged Kearney said more than a quarter of the 54 Commonwealth countries failed to allow basic industrial rights, with Fiji and Swaziland responsible for "the worst abuses". Fiji is already suspended, so at this CHOGM meeting the ACTU has turned its focus on Swaziland "for wholesale violations of democratic rights".
The union body called on CHOGM "to ask the UN to stop using Fijian soldiers as peacekeepers around the world, as well as condemn the already suspended Fijian military dictatorship's Essential Industries Decree", which stops workers in key sectors from taking industrial action.
"Workers' rights are human rights," Ms Kearney said. "Without them, people cannot defend their economic and political freedoms. They are as central to democratic societies as they are to free trade unionism.
"Shockingly, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have not ratified one of the two conventions on child labour."
Unionists from Swaziland, Fiji, Malaysia, Zimbabwe and India are attending the Commonwealth People's Forum in Perth."