31 Jul 2007

Striking Fiji nurses appeal for arbitration

6:44 am on 31 July 2007

The Fiji Nurses Association has called on the minister for Labour to refer the 7-day old strike by its members to compulsory arbitration.

The call came after the interim prime minister reportedly told the association that the government could not afford to offer more than the 1% pay restoration it has offered to all other unions.

The association general secretary, Kuini Lutua, says now that the head of government has made it clear they cannot budge, they have no other option but to ask that the dispute be referred to compulsory arbitration.

She says this would end the strike, which has seen remaining nurses and senior doctors working 12-hour shifts to maintain limited health services.

Mrs Lutua says there is no other path apart from compulsory arbitration they can take now because the prime minister is the highest ranking person who could have ended the strike.