18 Jul 2007

Fiji economy can't sustain five percent pay rise, says Minister

7:19 pm on 18 July 2007

Fiji's Public Service Minister says the economy would have to improve before any more than 1 percent of a five percent pay cut for public servants is restored.

The government says it won't give in to the Fiji Nurses Association and the Council of Trade Unions in their demand for the five percent.

The Nurses Association has warned that 1,400 nurses will walk off the job at midnight next Tuesday unless the government offers that restoration.

But the minister, Poseci Bune, says Fiji's economy cannot sustain the restoration.

"The remaining four percent will be restored as soon as the economy improves. And in addition to that, we would like to start negotiations on the quantum and timeline for the restoration of that four percent now, so that it can be announced for the budget address during December."

The Nurses and the government have agreed to meet on Friday and Poseci Bune says he remains hopeful of agreement.