15 Sep 2003

Fiji Met Service concerned about staff shortages

4:00 pm on 15 September 2003

The Fiji Meteorological Service says it's concerned about how it will cover critical staff shortages as the cyclone season approaches.

The director, Rajendra Prasad, says he's asked New Zealand if it could provide four meteorologists and cover some essential services because there's been a high turnover of staff due to low pay and limited career prospects.

Mr Prasad says there's been no reduction in services yet but if necessary, there will be cuts.

"The one that would be really affected, if we do resort to reducing the services, would be basically weather bulletins for Fiji, but not really for the region, and with the regional service we would go to New Zealand to provide some of the essential services, like the international warnings and the high seas forecast that go twice a day."

Mr Prasad says they are just managing the shortages now by limiting leave, asking people to work overtime and redeploying junior staff.

He says an additional paper on the issue will be presented to cabinet this week.