6 Feb 2004

Fiji government downplays proposed strike action

11:16 am on 6 February 2004

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, says the government will use casual workers to try and minimise disruption to port services if port workers go on strike.

Mr Zinck says port workers lodged a dispute with the Ministry of Labour yesterday and any strike action would be illegal.

He says the port employees, who are members of the Fiji Public Service Association, have taken a strike ballot and given strike notice.

He says they have 42 days after lodging the dispute to solve the issue, during which the strike notice would be invalid.

"The government will minimise that through assistance from either casual workers to try and ensure that the port services are not effected, but at this stage I don't believe that there will be any strike."

Port workers have planned a nationwide strike from March 8th over grievances which include concerns about uncertainty of employment as a result of ongoing reform processes under way since 2001.