FIJI FOREST INDUSTRIES TO LAYOFF WORKERS

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SUVA, Fiji (January 15, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji Forest Industries will lay off up to 68 workers because of a down-turn in business.

General Manager Ratu Tomasi Bonaveidogo says over 40 employees will lose their jobs initially as the timber processor cuts its worker numbers down to 320 from 388, The Daily Post reports.

A number of factors continued to have a negative effect on earnings, Ratu Tomasi said. These included recent devaluation of Asian currencies, a sluggish and extremely competitive local economy and unseasonably wet weather.

Log production by Fiji Forest Industries was particularly affected on Vanua Levu during the past six months, due to adverse weather conditions.

Meantime, Ratu Tomasi said, the entire administrative and operational functions of the company are also being reviewed in efforts to improve the company's efficiency and effectiveness.

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