Fiji’s public sector unions have now issued a 28-days notice to strike over the military regime’s decision to cut public servants’ pay by 5 percent and reduce the retirement age from 60 to 55 years. The strike by the Confederation of the Public Sector Unions (CPSU) is set to begin at midnight July 19. The CPSU consists of the Fiji Teachers Union, Fiji Nursing Association, Fiji Public Service Association and the Air Traffic Management Association of Fiji.
A CPSU spokesman said the decision was reached after months of trying to negotiate with the interim administration and follows the breakdown of talks over a union proposal presented to cabinet last week accepting the pay cut provided the current rate of pay is restored in interim stages starting in late December.
Four and half months have elapsed since the Public Service Commission imposed the pay cut but unions have resisted striking despite overwhelming support by their members in secret ballots. Meetings and rallies have been planned in the country’s Central, Western and Northern Divisions.
The military earlier warned that if the national strike went ahead it would intervene as a matter of “national security”. Meanwhile, unions affiliated to Fiji Islands Congress of Trade Unions, including the Fijian Teachers Association, the Public Employees Union and the Viti Workers Union., remain in talks with the administration and have not tendered strike notices.