3 Aug 2007

Some Fiji nurses said to be returning to work

10:01 am on 3 August 2007

Some of the nurses in Fiji who went on strike 10 days ago are reported to be breaking ranks with their colleagues and are returning to work.

The Fiji Times reports that some nurses in Lautoka, Labasa and Taveuni have come back to work.

Earlier small numbers of nurses in Suva, Nausori and other centres had returned.

In Lautoka nurses who had retired or resigned have been re-employed.

The Lautoka spokesperson for the Fiji Nurses Association , Miriama Suli, is quoted as saying nurses who want to return to work can do so but the rest of them will wait for the all clear from their leaders in Suva.

But the Association's general secretary, Kuini Lutua, says morale among the strikers is still high and most nurses have indicated they will stay away from work for another week or two if necessary.

A former president of the Nurses Association, Molly O'Connor, says striking nurses are praying for the care and recovery of patients in hospitals and looking for job opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, hospitals are reported to be coping with the strike by the Public Employees Union whose members are ancilliary workers.

All those on strike are not being paid for the period they are away from work.