18 Apr 2006

Fiji gold miners get some assurance after meetings with the union, company and government

8:14 pm on 18 April 2006

The Fiji Mineworkers Union says the future of hundreds of mine workers has been clarified following talks in Suva.

The union met with the caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the Emperor Gold Mining Company today to discuss redundancies and the temporary shutdown of its gold mine at Vatukoula.

Last week, the Company, which employees nearly 2000 workers, announced that it would lay off between 200 and 250 workers over the next three months, close down the mine temporarily and retrain the remaining workers.

The general secretary of the Mineworkers union, Satish Chandra, says a wage agreement has now been reached for the workers.

"everybody will be maintaining their weekly wages - there will be a financial grant given by the government - half will be paid by the company. So as far we are concerned the workers will not lose any weekly wages."

Satish Chandra says the company says 1500 workers will keep their jobs.

But he says another 300 workers will be offered redundancy packages.