27 Jul 2007

Former Fiji vice-president supports nurses' strike

10:14 am on 27 July 2007

Fiji's striking nurses are winning support and sympathy despite the severe disruptions caused to health services across the country.

The former vice president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, has commended the nurses for going on strike saying it shows their bravery and strong will power in going against the interim administration.

Ratu Joni made the comment when answering questions on the domination of males over females in leadership positions during a public lecture at the University of the South Pacific.

Ratu Joni said the nurses had taken a principled stand in their industrial dispute while two other public sector unions led by males had sold out.

He said the decision by the Fiji Public Service Association and the Fiji Teachers Union to end their industrial dispute with the government over the 5% pay cut said a lot about male union leadership at the moment.

Ratu Joni said the nurses were standing their ground while the other two unions had sold out.

Meanwhile, the largest indigenous women's organisation, the Soqosoqo Vakamarama, has given its full support to the nurses strike.

Its general secretary and a former interim cabinet minister, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, says the government must reconsider its stand because nurses are primary health care givers, as well as women, wives and mothers.