2 Aug 2007

Strikes are political - says Fiji's interim PM

6:41 am on 2 August 2007

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Fiji's interim prime minister says the 9-day old nurses' strike and those beginning today by other unions are political and won't work.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says the interim government has done a careful analysis of the unions and their leaders who are talking and believes their actions are political.

He says their bottom line is that they want to disrupt services to a point where the government gives in but that won't happen.

Commodore Bainimarama says the interim government will not allow groups such as the Nurses Association and the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions to promote their self-interest and political motives at the expense of the country's welfare.

He says he is confident normal services, although at a reduced level, will continue to be provided to the public despite the strikes.

Commodore Bainimarama has instructed the interim minister for labour, Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau, not to order any compulsory arbitration in the strikes.

Mrs Rounds-Ganilau says the interim government's contingency plans to deal with the strikes are holding and any decision to move to compulsory arbitration can come only from the interim prime minister.

Commodore Bainimarama says the government will not close its door to further talks but will not budge from the position it has taken on the issues in dispute.