2 Aug 2007

Fiji interim government says strikes have failed

5:59 pm on 2 August 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister says the disruptions to services planned by three unions which went on strike today have failed.

Radio Legend quotes Commodore Bainimarama as saying that the unions had planned to cripple the health, water and road services but they could not succeed because most workers stayed at their jobs.

He says people reported to work probably because they had taken an oath to provide essential services or because they had people to feed and did not wish to lose their pay.

Commodore Bainimarama says not enough people went on strike to disrupt services.

He says the government's contingency plans are working and many workers in the Water Supply Department have remained n the job out of a sense of service to ensure that essential services continue.

And 79% of workers in the ministry of transport, works and energy remained at work during the day.

But a spokesperson for the three unions, Taniela Tabu, says this is just the first day of the strike and things may get better for them tomorrow.

The Fijian Teachers Association says 842 of their 4,400 members had gone on strike and support was encouraging.

Meanwhile the education ministry has brought forward the second term school holidays to next Monday August the 6th and some public examinations have been delayed.