8 Mar 2004

Indigenous Telecom Fiji workers said to plan walkout

4:19 pm on 8 March 2004

Indigenous workers at Telecom Fiji are reported to be planning a mass walkout to show their dissatisfaction with the management of the company.

The Fiji Sun reports that this has been confirmed by Senator Ratu Josefa Dimuri who has attacked Telecom management in the Upper House and demanded the removal of its chairman, Lionel Yee, and managing director, Winston Thompson.

Senator Dimuri says for the last 10 years both men have put in place a deliberate policy of suppressing the development of indigenous leadership.

He says senior indigenous workers have been by-passed when it came to promotions.

Senator Dimuri says two senior indigenous staff members, Marika Vada and Sakeasi Seru, were sent to Harvard and Kellog universities eight years ago to prepare them to take over from Mr Thompson.

But Mr Thompson's contract has been renewed until 2006 when the two men will be due to retire.

Instead, Senator Dimuri says Telecom appointed a New Zealander Norman Nicholls as the chief operating officer at a salary of 210-thousand US dollars a year and renewed his contract to June 2005 even though his work permit expires 12 months before that.