Pay cuts anger nurses

Fiji Times, July 23, 2005

Executives of the Fiji Nursing Association are being told to hold pocket meetings around the country as soon as possible so members can air their grievances on pay cuts recently adminstered as a result of an oversight by the Ministry of Health.

Association general secretary, Kuini Lutua, said once the association received reports from such meetings, they would look into possible strike action.

"The association needs to know the difficulties members are facing when their salaries were deducted."

She said there were 20 branches around the country and the association expected a good feedback from members on the issue to justify preparing for a national strike.

On Thursday, the association sought a mandate to strike soon because there was a breach in agreement by the Public Service Commission on the salary of nurses.

Ms Lutua said nurses from around the country called their office to complain about irregularities in their pay.

"It is a breach of the agreement settled between the union and PSC to upgrade the salary of nurses who have been working earnestly and were underpaid," she said.

Ms Lutua said the commission agreed to sort out the problem faced by 800 nurses who have been underpaid and to look at over-payment of more than 400 members.

She said the commission did not inform the union of the decreased salary and instead wrote to the health ministry.

"We are the ones to be informed first because our members are affected.

"They scaled down the salary for those who graduated in 2000, 2001 until 2003 to $11,000 instead of the $12,325 they should be receiving.

"What the commission should know is that most of the nurses have taken out a loan for their home."

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