11 Jul 2008

Fiji interim government says it can't afford to offer teachers' backpay

6:15 pm on 11 July 2008

The Fiji Public Service Commission says it simply can't afford to offer a backpay to a two percent pay restoration for public servants.

After the 2006 military coup, the interim government cut public servants' pay by five percent.

By last December, public workers had received a 1 percent restoration, backdated to March 2007, and another two percent restoration yesterday, with the remainder expected to be paid out in December.

But it did not offer a backpay to the last payment.

This is being challenged by the Fijian Teachers Association, which has loged a dispute with the Ministry of Labour.

The commission's chair, Rishi Ram, says there's nothing it can do about the backpay at this stage.

"My advice would be to have patience and wait for the improvement in the economic climate and when things improve, the payments, if it's afforable, will be considered."

Rishi Ram says this may not include a backpay, but other payments.