FIJI GARMENT COMPANY REACTS TO WORKER PROTEST

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SUVA, Fiji (May 15, 1998 - PACNEWS)---The Ghim Li Fashion company in western town of Lautoka has denied that the recent hunger strike protest by expatriate Chinese workers had anything to do with the garment factory's working and living conditions.

Ghim Li says the dispute concerns contractual arrangements between the workers and their agents in China, Island Networks Corporation reports.

Denying media reports that the protest was over poor working conditions, a factory spokesman said the company has always complied with its obligations under the terms and conditions of its contract with its employees.

The expatriate workers, he said, earn $F 400 ($US 202) to F$900 ($US 455) net per month. In addition, all living requirements are provided, including accommodation, food, water, electricity, transport, and medical bills.

Meantime, the Chinese Embassy in Fiji has expressed concern about the protest reports.

The Embassy's economic and trade representative, Mi Shen, has requested that Ghim Li sort out the problem with the Chinese agency.

Mi Shen said the Embassy and the Chinese government attach great importance to this matter and have urged that the trade dispute be resolved.

The China agency, he added, has been asked to send representatives to Fiji to talk with Ghim Li Fashion representatives in efforts to resolve the matter.

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