31 Jul 2007

Fiji public sector to go on strike on Thursday

5:42 pm on 31 July 2007

Three public sector unions in Fiji have confirmed that thousands of their members will go on strike from Thursday.

The Fijian Teachers Association, the Public Employees Union and the Viti National Union of Taukei Workers decided to stage the strike after they were informed that the government had rejected their demands.

Radio Legend reports the decision was conveyed to the unions by the interim public service minister, Poseci Bune, who had taken the unions' proposals to the cabinet.

The spokesman for the three unions, Taniela Tabu, says talks have broken down and they will take industrial action.

Mr Tabu says the interim administration should not be surprised if their strike turns into a general strike across the country.

These unions have been demanding staggered restoration of the 5 percent pay cut imposed in March this year.

They also wanted the retirement age to remain at 60 rather than 55 and the retention of the Partnership Agreement signed by the deposed government promising pay increases of 170 million US dollars over several years.

The strike by the three unions is also expected to worsen the situation in hospitals and health centres where their members are ancillary workers.

Over 1,200 nurses have already been on strike for a week.