24 Jul 2007

Fiji nurses remain ready to strike from midnight - but talks continue

7:36 pm on 24 July 2007

About 1400 Fiji nurses are set to go on strike from midnight tonight despite daylong talks to avert industrial action.

The minister for the public service, Poseci Bune, said he had obtained a major concession from the cabinet for the nurses.

But the president of the Fiji Nurses Association, Simione Racolo, says there was nothing new and nurses should walkout at midnight.

The association general secretary, Kuini Lutua, says they have rejected whatever the government had to offer and stand by their demand for full restoration of the 5% pay cut.

But, she says, talks will continue tonight.

Only about 200 nurses are expected to remain at work and the health ministry has contingency plans in place to maintain emergency services.

Troops are on standby to help at hospitals and all police leave has been cancelled and officers on leave recalled to work to maintain law and order if necessary.