11 Nov 2003

Fiji unions plan strike action over budget cuts

2:30 pm on 11 November 2003

Fiji's Public Service Association says the government will face strike action if it refuses to negotiate over the the annual cost of living adjustment payments, or COLA.

The government decided to abolish COLAs from the budget which the PSA says will affect nearly 17,000 public servants.

The PSA secretary, Rajeshwar Singh, says it's unacceptable to replace them with a performance management system, or merit payments as the government is proposing, because people will miss out.

Mr Singh says they want to negotiate with the Public Service Commission and have the government re-instate payments for cost of living adjustments.

"I have made my position clear and the three unions that are spearheading this that were are amenable to negotiate but we want the commission to come up with an open mind and we don't want any strings attached to the negotiations."

Mr Singh says another rally is planned for Lautoka on Wednesday and the northern division the next week to follow on from the rally in Suva.

The nurses and teachers as well as other public servants plan to strike if negotiations are unsuccessful.