7 Jul 2004

Kiribati Government says repatriating unpaid workers from Nauru will impact on social services

1:18 pm on 7 July 2004

The Kiribati Government says it will have to spend 285 thousand US dollars repatriating unpaid workers and their families from Nauru.

The Ministry of Labour says around 200 I-Kiribati will be shipped home next month following the repatriation of a similar number late last year.

The Director of Labour, Ngutu Awira, says the Nauru Phosphate Corporation has not paid its 40 workers from Kiribati for almost a year.

He says the cost of repatriating families could effect the Government's budget.

"This could have been used for other essential services you know, which the people of this country want. This could effect our public fund, the treasury."

Mr Awira, says the workers' contracts - which were meant to guarantee them a salary of $70 US a fortnight, also included repatriation.

But he says the Government is under no illusion that Nauru will reimburse their costs, because it has made promises it can't keep in the past.

Mr Awira says the repatriation issue will be raised at the next meeting of cabinet.