21 Mar 2007

Fiji interim government drops plan to cut judges' pay

7:08 pm on 21 March 2007

The Fiji interim government has reversed a decision to cut the pay of judges by five percent as it is trying to implement its austerity budget following last December's coup.

The interim attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, has told the Fijilive website that the remuneration of judges cannot be reduced during their terms in office.

This is in line with a provision of the constitution which the military said it would uphold when it ousted the elected government.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, had announced pay cuts for interim ministers, magistrates and judges this week but the acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, queried the move.

Mr Sayed-Khayum has offered an apology should the judges feel aggrieved by what he calls the miscommunication.

Last month, the Fiji union umbrella organisation called for pay cuts for top earners to match the cuts imposed on its members.