2 May 2002

Fiji doctors work to rule despite offer from public service commission

10:24 am on 2 May 2002

Doctor's at Fiji's hospitals started working to rule from last night and have threatened a mass walkout.

This means they will work only normal day shifts and refuse all on-call duties at night and the weekend.

The protest started despite an interim offer by the public service commission to address their grievances which include the payment of as little as 50 US cents for being on call for up to 18 hours and better working conditions.

The commission secretary, Ratu Tui Cavulati, would not give details of the offer but said it would be followed by a full job evaluation exercise.

Doctors told a local newspaper last night they had no choice but to withdraw from on-call duties to make a statement to the government.

A surgeon is quoted as saying he had been sacrificing quality time with his family for years and was fed up with lies from the PSC that their working conditions would improve.

The doctors say their protest will continue until their demands are met.

The situation is expected to worsen from tomorrow because it is a public holiday followed by the normal weekend.