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Written By : MARAEA WAQALEVU. The interim government yesterday paid out more than $5million to civil servants as part of the five per cent restoration of the pay cut they took early last year.
A one per cent payout was given last year, two per cent yesterday and another two per cent to be given in December.
And a trade dispute has been registered by the Fijian Teachers Association against the Public Service Commission for refusing to backdate the two per cent pay restoration to March 2007.
Association president Tevita Koroi said the restoration of the two per cent was warranted but the proper thing for PSC to do was to backdate it to last year as initially agreed to.
“We have registered a dispute with the Ministry of Labour and we’ve left it to the arbitrator to make a ruling on that,” he said.
“In the past the arbitrator’s decision has gone the union’s way and we hope that will be the case too this time.
“The two per cent is workers’ money and should have never been treated as a salary negotiation, because we were always entitled to that.” He said when the interim government had called for a pay cut, the unions had cried out that it was unfair, but they then agreed to it after negotiations. Now the PSC had totally gone off the agreement made.
“When the pay structure was first taken away, there was a lot of bargaining made and in the end, an amicable solution was met and a consensus was reached by all the unions and government.
“And now, they give back the two per cent that we were owed anyway and they don’t backdate it.” He said a consultation process with the unions and all the stakeholders should have first taken place.