Economy of Oceania


The state of Fiji consists of an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Several military coups have been carried out in the country, most recently in 2006. The trade union movement in Fiji has a long history, but it has been subjected to repression by the military.


Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 18 270 km2

Capital: Suva (on the island of Viti Levu)

Language: English is the official language, in addition Fijian and Hindustani are spoken

Labor market and economy:

Fiji’s natural resources make the country one of the most prosperous in the region. The country exports sugar and a third of the industry consists of various forms of sugar processing. Tutism is another important source of income. Annually, about one million tourists visit the country. About 40 percent of the workforce works in agriculture and 15 percent in industry. The informal economy is extensive.


Papua New Guinea is a mountainous agricultural country. The country is a parliamentary democracy but recognizes the British monarch as its head of state. Papua New Guinea is known for its many ethnic groups. In the country, over 850 different languages ​​are spoken. The country’s only central trade union organization is the Papua New Guinea Trade Union Congress (PNGTUC).

Papua New Guinea

Country Facts

State condition: Monarchy and parliamentarism

Surface: 462 840 km2

Capital: Port Moresby

Language: The country has three official languages, English, Guinea-pidgin and hiri motu. In total, about 850 different languages ​​are spoken.

Labor market and economy:

According to COUNTRYAAH, Papua New Guinea is one of the poorest countries in Oceania. Life expectancy is 10 years higher than in the Indonesian part of the island of Guinea. A majority of the population earns a living on family farming. After some economic development in the 1980’s, the country suffered a sharp economic downturn in the 1990’s, mainly due to the closure of the copper mine on the disputed island of Bougainville and a decline in food exports.

Economically, Papua New Guinea is heavily dependent on a number of raw materials. The most important export products are wood products, timber and copper. The processing industry is weakly developed.


Oceania is a continent consisting of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and several islands and archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean. In this context, the labor market and trade unions in the latter islands and archipelagos are addressed. These in turn consist of several different states.

Labor market and economy:

The most important industries are tourism, agriculture, fishing and service. The industry is mostly poorly developed. Permanent employees are often found in public administration, education and healthcare.


The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands Public Service Association, CIPSA, is the only functioning trade union organization. CIPSA organizes as many as 40 percent of public employees. The total number of members is just over 11,000. However, CIPSA has weakened in recent years due to the government’s privatization program, which has led, among other things, to the transfer of part of the workforce from the public to the private sector. The Cook Islands also have the Cook Islands Workers Association, CIWA, but the operation is non-existent and the organization has only 1,200 members. The Cook Islands belong to New Zealand.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia is still a French colony and France has used the area for nuclear tests. However, the explosions have stopped and it is a victory for the trade union movement that has protested against the test programs. The trade unions, including A Tia I Mua with just under 4,000 members, demand that the crackdown be followed up by a social development program. The main industries consist of pearl fishing and tourism.


Seven unions have joined the Kiribati Trade Union Congress, KTUC, a central organization with about 2,500 members. KTUC has mainly invested in trade union training to strengthen the organization, for this, KTUC has received financial support from, among others, Japanese unions. The government in Kiribati has systematically intervened in the union work. In 2001, the government removed the democratically elected chairman of KTUC and replaced him with the more pro-government chairman of the hotel association.

New Caledonia

There are several trade union groups in New Caledonia. Union Syndicale des Travailleurs Kanaks et des Exploités, USTKE, has grown rapidly and has the best functioning business. In addition, there are three competing central organizations Confédération Général du Travail-Force Ouvrière, CGT-FO, Union des Syndicats des Ouvriers et Employees de Nouvelle Calédonie, USOENC, and Syndicat des Travallieurs de Demain, STD. In the mid-1990’s, four of the country’s unions adopted a document accusing the government of “refusing all dialogue”. The trade unions are
also criticizing economic policy and demanding tax increases, especially for high-income earners, in order to manage welfare.

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands has a well-organized trade union movement, where all unions belong to the central organization Salomon Islands Council of Trade Unions, SICTU. The Salomon Islands National Union of Workers, SINUW, was involved in a trade union struggle against the largest plantation owners in the early 1990’s. The employers’ side demanded that the workers be employed only on temporary “sub-contracts”, while SINUW demanded continued permanent employment.

The trade union movement emerged victorious from the battle. Politically, the Solomon Islands are characterized by corruption and political decay. In 2001, a coup was carried out in the country and the Prime Minister, a former trade union leader, was forced to resign. The new Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has pursued a consistent anti-union policy, arguing that there is no room for trade unions in a country as small as the Solomon Islands.


Until 1990, the government banned trade union activity. Since the introduction of trade union freedom, a national trade union has been formed, the Friendly Islands Teachers Association / Tonga Nurses Association, FITA / TNA. FITA / TNA belongs to FFI. Politically, Tonga is a kingdom – the only monarchy in Oceania – but with parliamentary elections. A large part of the state’s assets have disappeared due to corruption within the royal family.


The largest trade union organization is the Tuvalu Overseas Seamen’s Union, TOSU, with 500 members. The workforce consists mainly of sailors and fishermen, there is no industry in the country.