23 Mar 2007

Fiji interim government gives no details about strike response plans

4:22 pm on 23 March 2007

Fiji's interim administration has declined to say what kind of military action it is anticipating if the country's public sector unions decide to go on strike.

The unions are holding secret ballots over taking industrial action because of pay cuts and a reduced retirement age.

The interim government is in response threatening to take military action if the unions decide to go on strike, because of a state of emergency which bans public sector strikes.

The interim prime minister's private secretary, Parmesh Chand, says it is in the interest of public protection.

"The issue here is that if there is irresponsiveness on part of the unions beyond our explanations and beyond our plea and beyond our desire to keep talking, there is a part of the unions that want to continue their strike action, then obviously there is a need to act in public interest."

Parmesh Chand would not say what kind of action the military is anticipating.

The unions declined to respond to these warnings.