30 Jul 2007

Fiji teachers threaten strike action on Thursday

3:26 pm on 30 July 2007

Several thousand members of the Fijian Teachers Association are preparing to go on strike from Thursday unless the government agrees to all their demands, including the immediate restoration of the 5 percent pay cut.

Fiji's interim cabinet is due to discuss the association's demands when it meets tomorrow.

The union's president, Tevita Koroi, says unless the interim government resolves their grievances tomorrow, students should stay away from schools on Thursday because his members will walkout.

Mr Koroi says the interim prime minister should put his foot down and tell his finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, to restore their pay.

Mr Koroi says if the finance minister cannot do that, he should resign and make way for somebody who can find the money.

But Mr Chaudhry says the pay cuts and other measures are the collective decision of the interim cabinet which has agreed that the government will not borrow money to pay salaries.

Two other public sector unions, the Public Employees Union and the Viti National Union of Taukei Workers, are also ready for a walkout by their members on Thursday when their strike notice expires.