30 Apr 2007

Fiji nurses approve strike action

6:10 am on 30 April 2007

Nurses in Fiji have agreed in principle to go on strike for better salaries and working conditions.

The TRN Nursing Association president, Kuini Lutua, said the action was support by a secret ballot held at the association's annual general meeting in Suva.

The Fiji Times says 87 per cent of nurses who voted were in favour of opposing the 5 per cent pay-cut on civil servants "through all legitimate means including industrial action".

Ms Lutua said a national council meeting this week would decide their next course of action pending further discussions with the interim Government.

The nurses were unanimous in opposing a reduction of the retirement age from 60 to 55 years.

An estimated 3000 nurses stand to lose their jobs if the interim Government goes ahead and lowers the retirement age .

The nurses were also opposed to the 12-hour shift which the Ministry of Health had proposed earlier this year to replace the eight-hour shift.

Nurses are said to beleaving Fiji at the rate of more than 100 a year because of dissatisfaction over work conditions and salary levels.