18 Jul 2007

Fiji unions planning strike claim intimidation

9:09 am on 18 July 2007

Two Fiji public sector unions planning strike action in the next two weeks claim their members are being intimidated at work.

The general secretary of the Fiji Nurses Association, Kuini Lutua, has told the Fiji Times police officers visited nurses at Nabouwalu in Vanua Levu saying they wanted to interview them but did not say why.

Mrs Lutua says she told the nurses not to allow the interviews but to contact her.

Mrs Lutua says this is a threatening technique and if it continues nurses will walk out immediately.

The general secretary of the Public Employees Union, Pita Delana, says some of his members in the Water Supplies Department working in Navua and near Pacific Harbour were asked by their supervisor if they intended going on strike and had their names taken down.

Mr Delana says the supervisor told him the order had come from the ministry of local government, headed by the interim minister Jone Navakamocea.

But the director of local government denied any such order had been issued.

Meanwhile talks between the government and four trade unions to settle their grievances over pay cuts and the lowering of the retirement age to 55 have made no progress and the matter is now likely to go to the ministry of labour.

The government insists it cannot afford to fully restore the 5% pay cut imposed earlier this year.