23 Jul 2007

Fiji minister says more than one percent for public servants unlikely this year

1:39 pm on 23 July 2007

Fiji's interim Public Service Minister, Poseci Bune, says it's unlikely the government will be able to restore nurses pay beyond one percent this year.

This is on the eve of a planned strike from the Fiji Nurses Association, which is asking for the restoration of a five percent pay cut and the retirement age to remain at 60, instead of 55.

Mr Bune says he's taking an amended suggestion to cabinet tomorrow, asking to have a one percent pay increase implemented by August and another 2 percent restored by December.

But, he says even this is asking too much.

"That two percent or three percent would not only apply to them if we agree to it, it would also have to apply to all the public civil servants and that would just be beyond our ability to pay. It'll be very difficult to move from the one percent because that is all what this country can afford at this time."

Poseci Bune says student nurses and retired nurses have been approached to work in the place of striking nurses, should an agreement not be reached tomorrow.