1 Apr 2009

Fiji unions fear budget cuts will lead to job losses

9:49 pm on 1 April 2009

Fiji's Council of Trade Unions says job cuts are inevitable if the Public Service Commission goes ahead with a 50 percent cut in operating budgets.

The Fiji Times reports a directive, dated March the 30th and signed by the outgoing permanent secretary of the Commission, urging ministries to work smarter, reorganise and review staffing, but to ensure that public service delivery is not in any way compromised.

Attar Singh, the general secretary of the Council of trade unions says cuts in power and other utilities can only save about 10 percent, and there will have to be cuts in service delivery.

And he says the public service cannot sustain current staffing levels on a 50 percent budget cut.

"Surely one would expect people, when they handle and manage [the] public purse, when they make policy changes or give out policy directives that they must make it very clear. Now this one certainly is not very clear. I do not agree that jobs will not be affected in a 50 percent budget reduction, and if one wants to look at it 50 percent budget cuts means people go, and services go, it's as simple as that."

Attar Singh says unions will be meeting with the Public Service Commission over the coming days to find out what the impact of cuts is going to be.