16 Jun 2010

Fiji gold miners hope to settle decades long strike

7:39 pm on 16 June 2010

The legal adviser for Fiji's striking gold miners says a meeting between the union and interim government officials on Wednesday was very productive.

More than 300 workers from the Vatukoula Gold Mine went on strike 19 years ago over poor labour conditions, substandard housing and environmental damage at the mine.

Dr Shaista Shameem says the miners presented a compensation claim of $US4000 per miner for every year of striking to permanent secretaries for a number of interim ministers, including the Prime Minister.

He says he has been assured by the government delegation they will receive a reply within a week.

"The solicitor general's office was represented so they will have to do some legal analysis of the papers that we have provided. But the miners are, Fiji Miners Union is, feeling very upbeat."

An Asia-Pacific and New Zealand union representative, Robert Reid, says the miners suffered severely after the company chose to close the mine down rather than negotiate.