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Fiji: Workers vote for industrial action as Nestl� insists on poverty wages

Posted to the IUF website 04-Oct-2006

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Workers at the Nestl� factory in Ba, on the north coast of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot on 8 September.

The Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union, to which the Nestl� plant union is affiliated, is seeking to raise the lowest hourly rates to FJD 3.50, an amount which represents the estimated poverty level. The majority of the plant's 200 workers, who produce noodles under the Maggi brand and dry snacks and sweets, earn less than this.

Nestl� has offered a wage increase of 72 cents per day, while the union objective of raising wages above the poverty line calls for an increase of about the same amount - per hour. Nestl� has asked for a counter offer which is closer to their own. The union has indicated it would not waste its time responding to such an insulting offer.

The union will decide shortly on the appropriate form of industrial action and its timing, frequency and length.