20 Jul 2007

Fiji civil service unions warned not to politicise industrial issues

10:05 am on 20 July 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister has warned four public service trade unions that going on strike for political reasons will be dealt with severely.

Commodore Bainimarama says the unions seem to be moving beyond industrial issues.

He says political agendas are coming out of the strike threat by the Fiji Nurses Union, the Fijian Teachers Association, the Public Employees Union and the Viti National Union of Taukei Workers that are not in the interests of their members.

Commodore Bainimarama says the government has moved significantly on three issues of contention in order to accommodate union demands.

Only the retirement age is before the courts.

Commodore Bainimarama says the economic difficulties facing Fiji right now are the result of neglect, mismanagement and poor governance over the last six years - not the political transition which happened on December 5th.

He says as the interim government moves to stabilize public finances and halt further deterioration of the economy, there will inevitably be an increased burden to bear which has to be shared equally by all.

The unions are insisting that they will go on strike despite the threat by the government.