22 Dec 2004

Fiji Union leader says strike by bank staff will go ahead

11:16 am on 22 December 2004

Two of Fiji's commercial banks are being accused of using bullying tactics as the union representing their employees goes ahead with plans to hold a nationwide strike.

The general secretary of the Bank and Finance Sector Employees Union, Pramod Rae, says they want the ANZ and Colonial to agree to a ten percent wage rise for their employees, not the three percent being offered.

He says ANZ tried to bypass the union and talk directly to union members by offering an interim payment in the middle of negotiations.

Mr Rae says those tactics, plus the fact the bank can afford to increase its offer, means they will hold to their planned strike.

"The bank increased its profits by a massive 35 percent over 12 months, and, you know, basically it's a show of corporate greed to say that employees don't deserve a pay rise any higher than three percent."

Pramod Rae says if union members at Colonial give the go-ahead, a strike will take place this week.

The general manager of the ANZ bank, John Velegrinis, says they're willing to continue talking but the union has broken off discussions and he says they've been offering a package worth an increase of six percent plus to staff.