10 Aug 2006

Nauru to rehire some of the hundreds of workers repatriated to Kiribati and Tuvalu

8:09 pm on 10 August 2006

Nauru is to rehire some of the several hundred i-Kiribati and Tuvaluan workers who have been repatriated in recent weeks.

The workers and their families have been taken to their original communities in a mulit million dollar exercise after they had been stranded on Nauru for years.

The phosphate plant company has now been refurbished and large scale production is getting underway.

Nauru's Development and Industry Minister, Frederick Pitcher, says the loss of the workers' has been a setback for the company because of the specialist skills they had.

"The I-Kiribati and the Tuvaluans were some of the most skilled operators of the ageing phosphate equipment we have here. These were skills that took years to develop. We undertook training programmes over the past two months to try and impart those skills to Nauruans. We succeeded to a degree, but we still miss their presence, put it that way."

Mr Pitcher says they have offered contracts to around 20 of the repatriated workers, and some have accepted and will return.