14 Feb 2007

Fiji constitution obstacle to cutting top pays

4:22 pm on 14 February 2007

Fiji's 1997 Constitution is likely to prevent the interim administration from reducing the salaries of judges and other high office holders in line with the 5 percent pay cut proposed for public servants.

The interim minister for public service, Poseci Bune, says such office holders will not be spared the pay cut which is aimed at saving 18-million US dollars a year.

But section 136 of Fiji's constitution specifically says that the remuneration of judges must not be reduced during their terms of office.

Another section of the constitution states that the functions of the public service commission do not extend to an office that is the responsibility of the Constitutional Offices Commission.

This commission appoints people such as the Ombudsman, the auditor general, the director of public prosecutions, the governor of the Reserve Bank, the supervisor of elections and the commissioner of police.

The vice president of the Fiji Council of Trade Unions, Taniela Tabu, had earlier written to the interim administration calling on it to slash the pay of interim cabinet ministers, High Court judges and policy makes in line with any pay cuts made in the civil service.

Mr Tabu said he had proposed a new law binding all people paid by taxpayers to the same set of conditions.