10 Feb 2009

FICTU says workers will struggle after pay hike reversal

4:57 pm on 10 February 2009

Fiji's Council of Trade Unions says many workers will struggle to survive after the interim government's move to rescind the order to increase wages in nine industries.

The interim Prime Minister announced a deferral, citing tough economic times for employers, many of whom were still recovering from last month's flood.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama said the timing is not right as demand for goods and services exported by Fiji has been affected by the global financial crisis.

But the Council's secretary Attar Singh says those earning the minimum wage are now left worse off.

"The point must be made that the workers who were to benefit from those new wage orders are all very lowly paid and the majority of them are working below the poverty line and hardly any of them are unionised. So they have no other means of support, no other means of nobody else speaking for them, and now for the Commodore to go ahead and rescind the order itself, it's just another blow for workers who are already finding it very very difficult to survive in the current economic conditions."

Attar Singh says the council of trade unions is very disappointed at the interim government's sudden decision.