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One in four Pacific Islanders lives below the poverty line - that's nobody's idea of paradise

06 June 2014 By Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

In Australia, we know the power of organised labour in raising living standards. And, after the recent federal budget, we are also acutely aware of the need to defend the building blocks of a decent society.

Read this on the UAA-APHEDA website

Workers in Pacific Island countries and their trade union leaders want to play their part in improving the living standards across their communities. As Australian unionists, we can assist Pacific Island unions to improve their ability to effectively organise around the workplace and community issues affecting their members.

I'm writing to ask you to make a financial contribution to support the Pacific's next generation of union leaders in their work for fairer and more equitable societies. Workers in the Pacific need our support - Donate to our end of financial year appeal today.

Communities in the Pacific face many challenges. With a quarter of all Pacific Islanders living below the poverty line, many families are left vulnerable to changes in international trade and the impacts of natural disasters. One obstacle we can help our nearest neighbours overcome is improving their wages and conditions - increasing their ability to better deal with such challenges when they arise.

A Fijian hotel worker earns on average less than $3 an hour - and it is dangerous to speak out.

Workers and trade unionists in Fiji face intimidation and persecution by the ruling military regime for standing up for their rights. In December 2013, after a spontaneous protest by three hundred Sheraton hotel workers, six unionists were arrested and workers were questioned.

"This is on-going persecution of trade unionists in Fiji," Felix Anthony, then-Secretary General of the Fiji Trade Union Congress, said in January. "This [regime] has an agenda against trade unions in this country ... basically the agenda here is to kill the trade unions."

In the Solomon Islands almost 30% of families live below the poverty line and in Papua New Guinea it is almost 40%.

Minimum wages in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are unacceptably low. Many workers in the Solomon Islanders take home less than 50c AUD per hour.

As Australian unionists, together we can help our Pacific neighbours improve their lives. Donate today.

Your contribution will be used to support the next generation of Pacific union leaders and their efforts to increase workers' rights education, strengthening organising and occupational health and safety education and awareness. Your support today will help lay a solid foundation for the union movement in the Pacific into the future.

How to donate

To donate online, please go to the appeal webpage and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

Alternatively, you can download and return a donation form or phone our office on freecall 1800 888 674 or (02) 9264 9343.

Donations to this appeal over $2 are tax deductible. Contributions received before June 30 can be claimed against this year's tax return.

Thank you for your support of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's work.

Read this on the UAA-APHEDA website

Contact Details
Name: Greg McLean, ASU Assistant National Secretary
Telephone: 0419 796 801