31 Jan 2007

Fiji mine workers unhappy about Emperor compo offer

4:11 pm on 31 January 2007

The Mine Workers union of Fiji is unhappy with the compensation package offered by the Emperor Gold Mining Company.

The union's general secretary, Satish Chandra, says the company has offered only one week's pay per year of service to the 1,700 workers it laid off in early December when it closed down the Vatukoula gold mine.

The country's interim administration is investigating whether the mine should be re-opened and there has been a call for it to be nationalised.

Mr Chandra says the workers are sitting at home waiting to hear what will happen but the union plans to hold further negotiations with the company over the compensation package.

"With that package of compensation, we're not happy with it. And, a possibility is that we'll speak to the government on the issue. The offer is one week's pay per year of service which I believe is not even a peanut, I would say because the gold price in the world is a high price at the moment."

Mr Chandra says the company has indicated it is willing to continue discussions.