24 Sep 2003

Fiji labour minister jeered and booed by strikers at state-owned cannery

9:16 am on 24 September 2003

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, has been jeered and booed by striking workers of the state-owned tuna cannery at Levuka.

Mr Zinck visited the strikers, mainly indigenous Fijian women from around Levuka, while visiting the town for a cabinet meeting there yesterday.

More than 350 workers have been on strike for over seven weeks after the Pacific Fishing Company refused to honour an arbitration award on pay and conditions handed down earlier this year.

To questions from the strikers, Mr Zinck admitted he was not at a meeting between the minister of public enterprises and company management because of a breakdown in communications.

But he said the government was concerned about their grievances.

Meanwhile, the minister for information, Simione Kaitani, has told the Fiji Times that the government would not intervene because it was a legal matter, adding that the intervention of trade unions was only making matters worse.