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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 5, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post, The Fiji Sun/PINA Nius Online)---At least 7,536 people have now lost their jobs as direct result of Fiji's May 19 coup, the Daily Post reported today.

The hotel and tourism industry, with 1,976 jobs lost, has the highest redundancy figure so far.

According to the Labour Market Survey employers have gone out of their way to save jobs but the reality of their financial situation has meant some people had to lose their positions.

To save jobs some employers have introduced reduced hours, a shortened working week and are rotating workers.

A total of 897 employers were surveyed.

In other developments yesterday:

* Fiji's Daily Post reported the High Court ordered Chief Magistrate Salesi Temo to refrain from making decisions on the Immunity Decree 2000 in relation to treason offences allegedly committed by George Speight and his men.

Mr. Temo was to have ruled on the validity of the Immunity Decree yesterday. But he said he had been directed by Justice Peter Surman that this must be resolved at the High Court level.

Speight and others allegedly involved in the May 19 armed takeover of Parliament and hostage taking were remanded in custody. Speight and other alleged coup leaders have been held in custody on Nukulau Island off Suva for the past five weeks.

* The Fiji Sun reported a visiting Australian and New Zealand trade union delegation said pressure will be maintained on the interim government to keep the 1997 constitution and quickly return the country to democratic and constitutional government.

The five-member delegation from the Australian and New Zealand unions met with members of deposed People's Coalition Government as part of a fact-finding mission.

The president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sharon Burrows, claimed the constitutional review committee approved by the Great Council of Chiefs included people declared persona non grata by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

She said: "The Great Council of Chiefs have chosen political hard liners who are known to have supported George Speight in his coup attempt. These people have no legal right to review a nation's constitution."

Ms Burrows said they would hold extensive consultations with people in Fiji before deciding on the type of pressures to apply on Fiji's administration.

* Fiji's Daily Post reported that the Communications Fiji Limited group of radio stations will launch a nationwide appeal to raise money for school fees, bus fares, and lunches for students affected by the crisis.

Appeal coordinator Satya Nand said FM96, Navtarang and Viti FM personalities will be based at various centers around the country to help with the appeal.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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