19 Mar 2007

Fiji unions ponder strike action

3:20 pm on 19 March 2007

Fiji's public sector unions are holding secret ballots over possible industrial action because of pay cuts and a reduction in the retirement age.

The ballots are being held despite a state of emergency which bans public sectors strikes.

The Public Servants Union has already a mandate from its members to take strike action, while the Nurses Association has just started its secret balloting.

The Teachers Union's general secretary, Deo Agni Singh, says its staff is now counting the secret ballots, but it is still awaiting the postal ballots that should arrive by tomorrow.

"Once we have received all the ballot papers, we are going to do the full counting and determine the mandate of the membership. We are expecting between 85 and 90 percent of the members to vote in support of strike action."

Agni Deo Singh says it will meet the other public sector member unions in the next few days to take a united stand on what action to take.