16 Jul 2007

Fiji cabinet to draw up contingency strike plan

10:11 am on 16 July 2007

Fiji's cabinet will hold a special meeting today to finalise contingency plans for a national strike by some public service unions.

The interim minister for the public service, Poseci Bune, has told Radio Legend they are now looking at options to subcontract road works and water supply services to the private sector if members of the Public Employees Union go on strike.

Mr Bune says they are also in touch with retired nurses and those who are not union members to ensure that hospital services are not affected.

The interim prime minister and minister for home affairs, Commodore Bainimarama, has confirmed that the military and the police are ready to assist if civil servants walk out.

The Fiji Nurses Association is planning strike action from midnight on July 24th while the Public Employees Union, the Viti National Union of Taukei Workers and the Fijian Teachers Association are due to go on strike in early August.

These unions want the 5% pay cut fully restored, the retirement age to remain at 60 instead of 55 and the suspension of the Partnership Agreement reached by the deposed government to be lifted immediately.