6 May 2004

Record 13-year strike case goes to Fiji High Court

8:17 am on 6 May 2004

A case to resolve Fiji's longest running strike which began in February 1991 has gone before the Lautoka High Court.

About 400 workers of the Emperor Gold Mining company went on strike 13 years ago for better pay and working conditions and improved mine safety.

The company sacked them, saying their action was illegal, and hired new workers.

The government de-registered the union the following year.

The report of a government-ordered commission of inquiry into the strike in 1995 was ignored by Emperor which challenged its validity because the company claimed it was a few days late.

The hearing of that challenge began yesterday.

Meanwhile, the union is claiming 20-million US dollars in compensation for the misery and hardship faced by the strikers who have maintained a picket outside the mine for 13 years.