FIJI PROMISES BETTER WAGES AND CONDITIONS FOR POLICE FORCE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 17, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Home Affairs Minister, Paul Manueli, has promised better wages and conditions for the country's police force.

But as Radio Australia Karan Pillay reports, the Minister has denied claims that current pay and conditions have caused low morale.

"Mr. Manueili agrees that police deserve a better deal and says this will be reflected in the next budget to be unveiled in November.

"His commitment follows a scathing attack by the Opposition leader, Jai Ram Reddy, recently.

"Mr. Reddy said consideration must be paid to the low wages and conditions in the force if people wanted to operate efficiently. He also questioned a huge difference in pay between police and the clerks in the civil service.

"According to the Opposition, police men and women cannot ask for more money because they don't have a union which can argue their case.

"The Police Commissioner, Isikia Savua, has also for some time been calling for a review of salaries for his two thousand strong force. He wants the police budget to be increased by about four million dollars from the current 24-million.

"Karan Pillay Suva."

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