Health Ministry open for further dialogue amid nurses strike threat

June 12, 2024 6:21 am

While the Fiji Nursing Association is threatening industrial action over pay discrepancies and staffing issues, Health Minister Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu says they remain open for further dialogue.

According to FNA President, Alisi Vudiniabola there are errors in the recent pay realignment process conducted by the Ministry causing confusion and dissatisfaction.

She claims that some nurses have been paid the wrong or the incorrect years of service due to incorrect records in the Ministry of Health system.

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“We are demanding that the Ministry of Health rectify the mistakes that they themselves committed and we are giving them, you know, we only have maybe two or three weeks left now before the end of our negotiation period, where we need to sign a collective agreement document. And if that doesn’t happen in the two weeks, then the nurses will have to go on strike.”

Health Minister Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu acknowledged the issues raised by FNA but emphasizes that the government has taken substantial steps to meet the nurses’ demands.

“We’re not pretty sure what we didn’t cover in our agreement, which we did in good faith, involving the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Civil Service, Finance and Finance. Like I said, we’ve kept our end of the bargain and we’ve been remunerated according to what they had wanted.”

Dr Lalabalavu stresses they are committed to improving nurses’ remuneration and working conditions.

He also emphasized the need for continued dialogue to resolve outstanding issues.