11 Oct 2006

Immediate threat of job losses denied by Fiji Public Service Commission

8:01 pm on 11 October 2006

The chairman of Fiji's Public Service Commission, Stuart Huggett, says there are no plans to immediately slash 5,000 jobs from the public service.

He was speaking after public service unions reacted in shock to the news that the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, had told a meeting in Australia that that number of jobs would go out of the 26,000 strong public service.

Mr Huggett says they are in the process of designing a new public service because it is currently too complex and contains too much duplication.

He says it will mean a reduction in its size but this will take place over the next two to three years.

"We see the reduction in numbers of civil servants is likely to take place in a number of ways; natural attrition, voluntary redundancy, hiving off into corporatised and privatised entities. There may be some compulsory redundancies but hopefully, this will be kept to a minimum."

Mr Huggett says the unions are being consulted and they are contributing to the process.