14 Jun 2007

Fiji's public sector unions wait for response from regime over dispute

6:54 pm on 14 June 2007

Fiji's public sector unions are waiting on a response from the interim administration to new proposals over their dispute.

The senior industrial officer at the Public Service Association, Nirbhay Singh, says the interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, agreed to meet the unions after negotiations stalled.

Mr Singh says they took the dispute to the prime minister's office because they were getting nowhere with the Public Service Commission and the Labour Minister, Bernadette Rounds Ganilau.

He says the PSC and the Minister were not active or keen to negotiate over alternate proposals the unions wanted to put forward.

Mr Singh says they won't discuss the details of their proposal which covers five key areas but he did confirm that they have asked the government to restore their pay cut in stages.

"These five items, there was a sort of a middle ground sought by us and the prime minister's team was very receptive. This is why they will take it to the full cabinet next week and come back with a reply."

Mr Singh says if there's a positive response from the interim administration, the dispute will resolve itself but if not, strike action is still possible.