28 Feb 2007

Fiji's Public Service Association says pay cuts will badly hit lower paid public servants

2:54 pm on 28 February 2007

The Public Servants Association of Fiji says its lowest paid members will be badly hit by the 5 percent pay cut to be implemented by the interim administration.

The PSA's senior industrial relations adviser, Nirbhay Singh, says the pay cut and the plans to reduce the retirement age from 60 to 55 years will be discussed at the association's annual general meeting in two weeks time.

The AGM will put resolutions to the members on whether industrial action should be taken over those two issues, among others.

Mr Singh says it's yet to be made public whether all 25,000 public servants, including the disciplined services of the police, army and prisons, will be affected by the pay cut.

"Five percent is quite substantial for the lower level public officers because a lot of them are very close to the official poverty line and any change in one or two or five percent in their take home pay will shift them down towards the difficult area of poverty line."

Mr Singh says if more than 50 percent of the PSA members vote to take action, they will have the mandate to report a trade dispute which triggers discussions with the interim administration.

He says if they prove futile, as a last resort, strike action will be considered.