18 Jul 2005

Taiwan confirms it's paying off stranded workers on Nauru

6:57 pm on 18 July 2005

Taiwan has agreed to pay off hundreds of expatriate Pacific workers who've been stranded for years without wages in Nauru.

Tuvalu's deputy prime minister, Saufatu Sopoaga, says the deal was confirmed last week when he met the presidents of Nauru and Kiribati.

Mr Sopoaga says Taiwan confirmed it'll meet the cost of early payment of outstanding backpay.

The total owed is about three POINT five million US dollars, but Mr Sopoaga wouldn't say how much Taiwan is giving.

"At the time of the meeting I'm not sure of the exact figures, but there was a need to specify the exact amount through the Forum Secretariat and then this is confirmed by the government of Taiwan."

Mr Sopoaga says the Forum Secretariat has been asked to manage the disbursal of Taiwan's funds.

He says once the individual workers in Nauru have received payment it'll be up to them to decide when they want to go home.