1 Aug 2007

Three Fiji public sector unions call for Finance Minister's sacking

6:50 am on 1 August 2007

Three Fiji public sector unions whose members will go on strike from tomorrow say they will only resume dialogue with the government if the finance minister is sacked.

The spokesman for the three unions, Taniela Tabu, told Fiji TV Mahendra Chaudhry is the cause of the problem want and he must go.

Mr Tabu says they don't want to talk to the government unless the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, gets rid of Mahendra Chaudhry and appoints a new finance minister.

But Commodore Bainimarama says Mahendra Chaudhry does not run the government.

He says the government is run by the cabinet headed by the prime minister which is him.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says with or without Mahendra Chaudhry, nothing changes.

The Fijian Teachers Association, the Public Employees Union and the Viti National Union of Taukei Workers decided to go on strike yesterday after the cabinet rejected heir demand in favour of its original stance on public servants.

The unions had wanted staggered restoration of the 5% pay cut, the retirement age to remain at 60 rather than 55 and the retention of the Partnership Agreement signed by the deposed government promising pay increases of 170-million US dollars over several years.