14 Feb 2003

Fiji Peacekeepers Association urges government to give lower military ranks pay increase

11:09 am on 14 February 2003

The Fiji Peacekeepers Association has urged the government to respond to its call to give the lower ranks of the military a pay increase.

The Association's Secretary, Taniela Senikuta, says it sent a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs to review the pay structure two weeks ago but so far there has been no response.

The demand comes as the government has begun a programme to cut up to 2-thousands jobs a year from the public service.

Mr Senikuta says lower rank officers, such as privates and corporals, make up the bulk of the army yet they have continuously missed to on pay increases.

He says many cannot afford the current costs of living and that the matter needs to be addressed urgently.

"In any military establishment, this is the known core of the force, so that's why we are concerned. We have done a bit of groundwork on that and from numerous reports done by government agencies we find that falls somehwere below the poverty line."

Taniela Senikuta of the Fiji Peacekeepers Association.

The military has dismissed the Association's claim as false.