6 Sep 2005

Fiji Energy Minister to meet electricity workers to try and avert strike action

8:22 pm on 6 September 2005

Fiji's Energy minister Savenaca Draunidalo has offered to negotiate with workers at the Fiji Electricity Authority in an attempt to avert strike action.

The Fiji Electricity Authority Workers Asociation is in dispute with the state owned company over the annual cost of living increase and the overall collective employment agreement.

The Association had threatened to strike on Thursday and its General Secretary, Daniel Urai says the action may still go ahead unless a settlement is reached and it could result in widespread blackouts.

Mr Urai says whether and when they strike depends what the Energy Minister has to offer when the Association meets him at 7am local time.

"After I've had my discussion with the minister, that will be determined, what will be the action that will be taken. The strike is not off. If there's anything we will do, it is give the minister a time to come in and resolve it. And if things still aren;t resolved, we can still change the date to a future date, but we are not calling off the strike."

Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour, Kenneth Zinck, has declared the strike illegal, saying the union did not make the proper applications before lodging the twenty eight day notification.