16 Aug 2006

Union says government takeover needed to save 600 jobs at Fiji factory

10:10 am on 16 August 2006

The Building Construction and Timberworkers Union of Fiji believes a Government takeover is the only way to secure the jobs of about 600 workers of a timber factory in Labasa.

It also says if the Government wanted to return Valebasoga Tropikboards in Labasa to its former owners, then its operations would have to be sold under huge concessions.

Union industrial advisor John Paul told the Fiji Times that it was impossible for any individual or private organisation to purchase and revive the factory's operations after four years of dismal performance while being under receivership.

Mr Paul says it would be more economical if the Government took over operations and integrated it with Tropik Woods and Fiji Forest Industries in Malau, Labasa.

Mr Paul was responding to indications by Labour Minister Krishna Datt that there was a possibility of handing over Valebasoga's operations to former owner, Labasa businessman Bahadur Ali.