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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 24, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has pledged full support for a nurses' nationwide strike on May 16.

The Congress said it will back the nurses' strike, even if means breaking the law on industrial action in essential services.

"We are going to take whatever course of action necessary to ensure that the deal struck with government is made," said General Secretary Felix Anthony.

The nurses have served notice they will go on strike on May 16 to enforce a promised pay rise, which they said the government has failed to deliver.

The nurses are demanding a $1,000 to $2,000 across-the-board pay rise, which the government pledged to deliver by March 31 this year.

The congress is waiting for a report on the latest development from the nurses. Fiji Nursing Association General Secretary Elina Dulakiverata is expected to present this report as soon as she returns from a trip abroad.

"I had spoken with the Nurse Association and we are expecting a report from the nurses next week. Then we will see what course of action to take," Mr. Anthony said.

The nurses said they had reached an agreement with the government earlier this year that they will get their grievances on pay and conditions addressed by March 31.

But they did not receive anything as promised. Accordingly, the Fiji Nurses Association Suva branch met last Tuesday and agreed to withdraw overtime services.

Consultations were held with members around the country, and a mandate was issued for a nationwide strike.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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