23 Jul 2007

Blunt warning from union if Fiji government uses outside workers to break possible strike

7:59 pm on 23 July 2007

The Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions is warning the interim-administration against hiring outside workers, if union members go on strike.

The Fiji Nurses Association will decide on Tuesday afternoon if nurses will go on strike, after cabinet meets and decides on the nurses demands.

The Public Service Ministry says in the event of a strike, retired nurses, student nurses and non-unionised nurses will take up the workload.

But the general secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions, Attar Singh, says replacing nurses with outsiders is illegal.

"That is the point and the message that we have sent to the administration and we hope that the administration will be better advised that if the strike does go ahead it's only because of its own inaction and failures and that in such an event it'll be illegal and wrong for it to replace our striking members by scab labour."

Attar Singh also says he sees the recent crowd control exercises carried out by armed riot police and the military as an attempt to intimidate union members.

He says protests will be carried out peacefully, and this show of force is completely unnecessary.