22 Mar 2007

Fiji's military warns against industrial action

7:35 am on 22 March 2007

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says the military will take action in the interest of public protection if public sector unions decide to go ahead with any strike.

In the face of a show of overwhelming support for industrial action from a majority of the members of the Fiji Teachers Union, Commodore Bainimarama warned that the security situation in the country was still delicate.

He told the Fiji Times that it is extremely important that those voicing opinions and making statements and demands fully understand that there are elements and individuals out there who can take advantage of such a situation.

He says this would destabilise the progress the military was making in restoring normalcy.

He says he had already made it clear to the union leaders and the civil servants that the 5 per cent pay cut was absolutely necessary to stabilise the Government finances.

Commodore Bainimarama says the country could not afford any pay rise and civil servants.

The unions are fighting the Interim Government's decision to impose a 5 per cent pay cut for civil servants and the reduction of the retirement age from 60 to 55.