25 May 2005

Fiji government investigating reports of strike by Fiji workers in Kuwait

10:13 am on 25 May 2005

The Fiji government has launched an inquiry following reports that 200 Fijians recruited for work in Kuwait have gone on strike over a pay dispute.

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck - who visited Kuwait in March - says that nearly half of a group of 450 recruits are unemployed and pocketing only a small daily allowance.

Mr Zinck says he's yet to verify reports of strike action with the Public Warehousing Company in Kuwait, but wouldn't be surprised if it was true.

Fiji authorities are now looking for the men's recruiting agent, Timoci Lolohea, of Meridian Services, who was paid 90-US dollars by each of them on the promise of a job.

Mr Zinck says the company's recruiting procedures are being investigated.

"My ministry has been tasked now by cabinet to just have a look at or investigate what you call the operations of Meridian Services and we're in the middle of that so we couldn't give anymore detail than that."

Mr Zinck says Mr Lolohea was last heard of in Kuwait.