1 Aug 2007

Fiji unions should reconsider strike decision - says interim prime minister

8:33 am on 1 August 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister has called on three public sector unions which have decided to go on strike from tomorrow to reconsider their decision.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says the unions' proposals were discussed in detail in cabinet yesterday but the interim cabinet cannot meet their demands.

He says the country would go broke if the cabinet were to meet the demands of the three unions and the Fiji Nurses Association whose members have already been on strike for 8 days.

Commodore Bainimarama says the government cannot give what it does not have.

The interim government has rejected suggestions that the state borrow money to restore the 5% pay cut as the deposed SDL government did.

The Fijian Teachers Association, the Public Employees Union and the Viti National Union of Taukei Workers are demanding the sacking of the finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, saying he is the cause of the problem.

But Commodore Bainimarama says the government is run by the collective decision of the cabinet headed by himself.

He says Mahendra Chaudhry does not run the government and with or without him nothing changes.