6 Oct 2005

Vanuatu Workers Union asked by PM to delay strike decision

8:28 pm on 6 October 2005

Vanuatu's National Workers Union says it's been asked by the Prime Minister Ham Lini and the Finance Minister Moana Carcasses to delay for a week its decision on whether Air Vanuatu workers will strike.

The Union met Mr Lini last week and had earlier planned to decide yesterday whether to strike over their dispute with management at the national carrier after it had laid off 26 employees last month.

The Union's general-secretary, Ephraim Kalsakau, says Mr Lini and Mr Carcasses share his concerns about the sackings and want to discuss it with the minister responsible for Air Vanuatu, Utilities Minister, Edward Natapei.

Mr Kalsakau doesn't accept Mr Natapei's defence of the sackings as being part of a planned redundancy.

"We've been asked by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to hold off for a week and they will be meeting with their colleague - the three shareholders of Air Vanuatu, that's the the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister for Public Utilities. They want to meet their colleague to ask him to retract from his statements and sit with the unions."

Ephraim Kalsakau.