26 Jul 2007

Parties in Fiji opt for arbitration in nurses strike

11:06 am on 26 July 2007

Fiji's public service commission and the Nurses Association have opted for arbitration as a way out of the nurses strike which has entered its second day.

But the Fiji Times reports that for arbitration to get under way, it will have to be ordered by the interim minister for labour, Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau.

The newspaper quotes the PSC permanent secretary, Taina Tagicakibau, as saying if arbitration is ordered, the state will be there but it will be a lengthy process.

The Nurses Association general secretary, Kuini Lutua, says the onus is now on the government because the nurses have been waiting for further talks since the deadlock at 4.30pm on Tuesday.

Mrs Lutua says the letter reporting a trade dispute is with the labour ministry and the power to order compulsory arbitration lies with the interim minister.

Mrs Rounds-Ganilau says she wants to have talks with the two parties before she looks at the next step.

Meanwhile, there are widespread reports of disruptions to health services all across Fiji since most of the nurses walked out at midnight on Tuesday.