6 Feb 2007

Interim Fiji government warned on withdrawing from pay deal

11:34 am on 6 February 2007

Fiji's public sector unions have warned the interim administration that they will fiercely oppose any moves to withdraw from a pay deal they signed with the Qarase government last year.

The chairman of the Public Service Commission, Rishi Ram, says that because of a shortage of money they want to withdraw from the earlier agreement and negotiate a new one.

Radio Legend quotes Mr Ram as saying there is not enough money to pay Cost of Living Adjustments from 2005 to 2007 as well as increments and payments in line with the collective agreement.

But the chairman of the Confederation of Public Sector Unions, Rajeshwar Singh, says according to convention the interim regime has to honour the agreement signed by the previous government.

He says the agreement itself says any amendments should be with the consent of both parties.

The general secretary of the Fiji Teachers Union, Agni Deo Singh, says the agreement took years to negotiate and their members will not accept any withdrawal by the interim administration.

Mr Singh says the unions are willing to talk about alternatives but they will take industrial action if the interim administration pursues its current path.