27 Mar 2007

Looming public service strike in Fiji may be averted says academic

1:52 pm on 27 March 2007

The interim administration in Fiji will look for ways to avert a looming public service strike, according to a leading academic.

Members of the two main public service unions have voted overwhemingly to strike over a five percent pay cut and reduced retirement age, but they've been warned by the military that if they do, they won't be allowed to come back to work.

Dr Jon Fraenkel, from the Australian National University, says the military could take over some aspects of public services but not all.

Dr Fraenkel says there are also quite close ties between the top echelons of the trade unions and the interim Finance Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry from the Labour Party.

"He finds himself now, as a Finance Minister within the interim government, responsible for pushing through, for example, these pay cuts. That's going to be a difficult position for him. It'll be interesting to see whether that also changes the face of Fiji politics and moves political support away from the Fiji Labour party."

Dr Jon Fraenkel.