12 Jul 2007

Some Fiji unions still considering strike action

3:40 pm on 12 July 2007

About a third of the Fiji public service is still set to strike over a push for a full restoration of a five percent wage cut and for the retirement age to be put back to 60 from 55.

Earlier this week, the Confederation of Public Sector Unions, headed by the Public Service Association, announced it had reached a deal with the government for one percent of the cut to be restored by December with negotiations continuing on the return of the other four percent.

One union to pull out of that deal was the Nurses Association whose president Simione Racolo says they were not happy with the terms.

"We still have our 28 days that we have given for our industrial action so we have until the 24th to still talk to the government. The FPSA and the other guys they have accepted the terms given by the government so they are accountable to their members. I don't think our members had accepted that decision after they offered it on the table."

Three other unions, the Fijian Teachers' Association, the Public Employees Union and the Viti National Union for Taukei Workers have met the interim Public Service Minister, Poseci Bune.

Their efforts to convince the government to change its stance failed.

Taniela Tabu of the Taukei Workers Union says they are ready to strike from August 2nd unless their demands are met.

We want government to accommodate all issues - that is the retirement plus the restoration of the five percent paycut, plus the outstanding ten percent of the COLA [cost of living adjustment] payment that they have yet to make.

Taniela Tabu