30 Nov 2010

Fiji union asks interim government to review water tax hike

2:30 pm on 30 November 2010

The union representing sacked workers at Fiji Water has written to the interim Prime Minister asking the administration to reconsider the tax imposed on the company.

The budget last week increased the levy to 15 Fiji cents per litre from the current rate of a third of a cent per litre.

Fiji Water responded yesterday by shutting its doors and laying off 400 workers.

The Assistant Secretary General of the Sugar and General Workers Union, Mika Mataka, says the plant is the only employment for at least four or five villages and the workers will be paid for this week and next :

"They are very angry and upset at the moment, they couldn't believe that government has done this to them, especially with Christmas coming up, it is a very bleak Christmas for them now."

The interim Prime Minister has told the US company that it must relinquish its leases if it no longer wants to operate in Fiji.

But Mr Mataka says it is up to the landowners to decide and that they are happy with Fiji Water and its contribution to the community.