27 Nov 2002

700 Fiji bureaucrats on strike

11:32 am on 27 November 2002

About 700 staff of the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority have gone on a nationwide strike.

Fiji TV reports that the walkout has been triggered by what the strikers say is the management's lack of action on their salary negotiations.

A spokesman for the strikers, Seru Aisake, says the management has done selective restructuring and awarded themselves pay rises of up to 66 percent.

Mr Aisake says the staff who do all the hard work are demanding just 30 percent.

The chief executive of the Revenue and Customs Authority, Sila Kotobalavu, says the walkout is illegal and he will not negotiate while the staff remain on strike.

But Mr Kotobalavu says a pay rise of 30 percent is not possible and he would be willing to talk if the strikers returned to work.

The minister of labour, Kenneth Zinck, has declared the strike illegal and ordered the officers to return to work.