Finance Minister, Professor Biman Prasad is optimistic AUSPS pay dispute will be resolved
Finance Minister, Professor Biman Prasad says the majority of the issues between the Association of University of the South Pacific Staff and the USP management have been resolved.
Prasad says he is hopeful the two parties will reach an amicable solution soon on their pending matters.
“I’ve met the union leaders, and they’ve told me that nine out of the ten issues, the university has resolved. The only issue is pay, and that’s something that the government is not going to decide. That’s the decision of the council. And I think that there are good people in the management, including the Vice and there are good people in the union at USP and I think they would be able to resolve these issues.”
The AUSPS members want an 11 percent pay rise, all vacant positions to be filled, improved working conditions and Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia’s contract not to be renewed.
Prasad maintains that despite being a member of the USP Council and also being the largest grant funding contributor to the institute, the government will not interfere in the decision making process of the USP.
“I know the university suffered a very big decline in enrollment by 30%, which will also mean decline in revenue. And so I would hope that both the management and the union would be able to sit down and look at all the facts and figures and come up with an amicable agreement.”
The AUSPS members carried out a peaceful protest outside the USP Council meeting venue last week.