26 Sep 2003

Strike at Fiji state-owned cannery settled after seven week protest

10:33 am on 26 September 2003

The general secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress says a strike by female workers at the state-owned tuna cannery was worthwhile given its outcome.

360 workers, mainly women, at the Pacific Fishing Company in Levuka had been on a seven-week strike for better working conditions.

Felix Anthony, who negotiated on behalf of strikers, says the final settlement was in line with an arbitration award offered earlier this year

"Well the workers were very pleased with the settlement, they've virtually achieved everything they had sought out to achieve. All the grievences that were outstanding have now been resolved, and I believe that the whole struggle, the protest has been very worthwhile for the workers. 16"

Mr Anthony says workers' pays will now be backdated to January.

He says workers will also be paid 50 percent of their wages for the time they spent in protest strikes.

Meanwhile, Virisila Buadromo, the co-ordinator of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, says the outcome is significant for women.

The fact that these women decided to stand their ground and stand for something they believe in is remarkable and is also sort of a beacon of light for other women and to realize that they do not have to take things lying down, that they also have rights, and they can fight for those rights.