FIJI'S UNION MEMBERS SAY NATIONAL STRIKE WAS SUCCESSFUL

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SUVA, Fiji (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Fiji's Trade Union Congress (FTUC) says last week's national strike was a successful show of strength.

More than 50,000 people stayed away from work, Radio Australia reports.

FTUC Leader Pratap Chand says the strike showed a new strength and resolve among Fiji's workers who, he says, are fed up with the actions of government and commercial employers.

While a large percentage of Fiji's workforce responded to the strike called, the unions did not succeed in their goal of disrupting essential services.

Although many businesses and government offices were closed, hospitals, the airports and power supplies continued to operate.

Two international flights were diverted from Fiji, leaving some passengers stranded for a day, but otherwise there was minimal convenience.

The strike was called to protest a government order limiting wage raises to three percent during 1998. The government withdrew the order, but unions went ahead with the strike in support of other demands.

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