25 Jul 2005

Thousands of striking hotel employees in Fiji are back at work

3:34 pm on 25 July 2005

Thousands of hotel employees in Fiji are now back at work after their lightning strike was declared illegal.

The Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, says he has also ordered both the Hotel Association and the National Union of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism Industry Employees to go through compulsory arbitration.

This follows a deadlock in talks after the union's call for a ten percent pay rise was rejected by the Hotel Association.

Mr Zinck says he can order compulsory arbitration because those working in the tourism sector are deemed to be offering an essential service, and little was being achieved in the negotiations.

"It appears that they were both poles apart. The Hotel Association was moving towards the middle but the unions were demanding much more than just ten percent. They were also demanding agency fees and service fees so at this point, their demands are way off the mark to say the least, but the unions are not backing off that one."

Fiji's Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck.