Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Union is Not Afraid of Fiji Military

We are not afraid of army: Union
Tuesday March 13, 2007

A workers union says it is not "afraid" of military intervention in its planned strike against Government's decision to cut wages and send home workers aged over 55 years.

"We know the military will step in if we go on strike. We are only afraid of God," said Pita Delana, the general secretary of the Public Employees Union.

Delana said that the union has applied for a strike mandate after the interim regime went ahead with its cost-reducing policies without consulting them.

He said the union had proposed that the State would save $3.7million a year if they agreed to reduce working hours from 44 to 41.5 hours instead of the five per cent pay cut.

Delana said the Interim Government will only save $3.2million from the five per cent pay cut.

"But they don't want to listen to us. They're just bulldozing their way through," Delana said.

The union has 4800 members.

Meanwhile the Confederation of Public Sector Unions will decide this Friday whether they will go on a nation wide strike or continue talks with the Government over the same issues.

Members of the CPSU in the Central Division will hold their secret ballot over the next 48 hours.

Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has consistently pleaded with workers and the public to bear with the Interim Government in its effort to salvage the national economy.

He said that cost cutting was necessary for Fiji to "swim rather than sink".

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