9 Mar 2004

Telecom Fiji said to suspend restructuring of company

1:12 pm on 9 March 2004

The union negotiating with Telecom Fiji says the board has agreed to suspend the restructuring of the company until consultation is held.

Moto Kula, the president of the Fiji Posts and Telecom Employees Association, says the board also agreed, in talks yesterday, to appoint independent auditors this week to assess the state of the company.

The cabinet is today discussing allegations levelled at Telecom Fiji and its top executives that it failed to bring down charges to acceptable levels and failed to promote senior indigenous staff.

Mr Kula says the union is concerned that hundreds of jobs may go in the restructuring.

"We need to be consulted. We've been told that yes, there will be a massive downsizing and the way things are, how they've played it at the very top, we see that things are not done in a just and fair manner so the concern is that this might trickle down to the lower ranks. Now, we're hearing all this and being told that there will be a lot of jobs that will have to go - all this, we are hearing on the grapevine."

Mr Kula says the union is also demanding that Telecom's chief executive officer, Winston Thompson and the chief operating officer, Norman Nicholl, step down.

Senator Ratu Josefa Dimuri has also made the same call and he has also asked for the removal of Telecom chairman, Lionel Yee.