16 Jun 2014

Pay boost for Fiii sugar workers "vote-buying"

4:07 pm on 16 June 2014

Fiji sugar workers say they'll accept a pay rise they've been offered but they've dismissed the increase as a mere vote-buying exercise.

The regime leader Frank Bainimarama announced at the weekend employees of the Fiji Sugar Corporation will get a five percent pay increase backdated to the beginning of the year.

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Photo: file

The workers turned down a 5.3% pay increase last year and threatened to strike, saying their wages had declined in real terms by 40 percent.

The acting General Secretary for the Fiji Sugar and General Workers' Union, Mikaele Mataka, says the increase means just a couple of dollars extra a week for the workers.

"It comes now because the election is just around the corner in September. It's a vote-buying gimmick. The members feel that they've been sold out because they were expecting more than that because they've toiled for the last seven, eight years with no pay rise."

Mr Mataka says the workers feel helpless with no negotiations taking place between the management and the union.