26 Jul 2007

Pay frozen for striking Fiji nurses

9:03 am on 26 July 2007

Fiji's public service commission has issued an order freezing the pay of striking nurses as their industrial action enters its second day.

The commission's permanent secretary, Taina Tagicakibau, says freezing the pay is a requirement of public service regulations and those on strike will have their pay deducted.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Nurses Association has called on the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to intervene and settle the strike because it says he has the power to do so.

The association's general secretary, Kuini Lutua, made the call after Commodore Bainimarama visited the health ministry's Emergency Operations Centre at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.

Commodore Bainimarama said he was surprised to hear Ms Lutua's call to cripple the health services and on inquiry found that she had never been a nurse.

The interim prime minister commended the work of nurses and doctors who are still operating health services and appealed to the strikers to return to work and look after their patients.