20 Aug 2003

Teachers walk off the job in Solomons

5:03 pm on 20 August 2003

Nearly 3,000 teachers the Solomon Islands have launched indefinite strike action because they say the government has failed to address their log of claims submitted at the beginning of 2002.

The General-Secretary of the Solomon Islands National Teachers Association, Fred Taika, says the log includes compensation payments related to the past ethnic tensions and the upgrading of teacher certificate courses to degree or diploma level.

Mr Taika says the government has also failed to implement a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year which related to the payment of wage arrears.

He says SINTA would like the dispute settled quickly so action won't affect school examinations due to start next month.

However Mr Taika says the issue would be settled faster if the minister of education, Snyder Rini, was replaced.

"We want to negotiate..... Mr Rini does not want to negotiate.The fact that he has never been to the office, the fact that he has never instructed his officers to negotiate with SINTA, indicate he does not want to negotiate, and I think there is no point in putting him there."

Fred Taika.

Mr Rini was given the education portfolio after losing his finance post two weeks ago.