4 Dec 2003

Fiji nurses threatens industrial action over COLA payment

4:42 pm on 4 December 2003

The Fiji Nurses Association has threatened nationwide industrial action if its members are not paid their annual Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA.

The threat follows the Minister of Finance Ratu Jone Kubuabola's statement that the COLA would be scrapped from January the 1st.

The Association's secretary, Kuini Lutua, says it is upset about the plans to scrap COLA because in the current public service salary structure, there is no mechanism in place to take into account the cost of inflation.

She says scrapping COLA will further reduce the purchasing power of the low wages that nurses earn.

"For us, we still think it is going to create problem. We have nurses who opt to leave nursing services in our country and we can't afford that. I think the health of the people of Fiji depends a lot on nursing services that is provided throughout the country."

Kuini Lutua says the government's plan to replace COLA with a Performance Management System, though well intended, is flawed because few understand how it works.