21 Dec 2004

ANZ Bank in Fiji says it's willing to continue negotiations with union

8:22 pm on 21 December 2004

The ANZ bank in Fiji says it's willing to continue negotiations with the union to avert a planned strike but the union is stonewalling and refusing to hold talks.

The ANZ's general manager in Fiji, John Velegrinis, says the Bank and Finance Sector Employees union has been conducting its dispute through the media and unilaterally broken off talks despite being in the middle of negotiations.

He says they offered an interim payment to staff as a measure of goodwill and not to subvert discussions as claimed by the union.

"We have recently made willingly a payment of a salary adjustment which ranged between three and a half and six percent for staff. In addition to, under their awards, step increments which means that further awards and salary increases are due to each staff member, in addition to seven hundred dollars of free shares.18"

Mr Velegrinis says the package means that staff would get between six and 19 percent, not three percent as the union stated.

The union is asking for a ten percent wage increase for staff and says the bank can afford it after record profits last year and it also says if there's no change in attitude, it will continue with plans for a strike this week.