9 Aug 2005

DPP in Fiji has not received instruction on nurses strike

7:26 pm on 9 August 2005

Fiji's Director of Public Prosecutions office says it has not received any instructions from the police about the illegality of the five-day nurses strike which ended last night.

Radio Fiji reports that the DPP's Office has also confirmed that the labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, is also yet to discuss the matter with them.

Mr Zinck has refused to comment on the demand by the Fiji Nurses Association that he withdraw his complaint to police about having union officials arrested after he declared the strike illegal last week.

The DDP's Office has referred all queries on the issue to the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, who has already said that subjecting the nurses' strike to the criminal justice system may not be a workable solution.

But police did question striking nurses during the strike.

Mr Zinck had repeatedly threatened to have union officials arrested and will now table a Bill in parliament this month proposing punitive fines for illegal strikes.

The new Employment Relations Bill will provide for fines of 60-thousand US dollars for lightning strikes by essential service workers similar to the one staged by the nurses.

Unions not engaged in providing essential services which take part in a lightning strike will be fined 12-thousand US dollars.