28 Nov 2003

Planned strike by Solomons public servants deferred by referral to Trade Disputes Panel

11:50 am on 28 November 2003

A planned strike by 15-hundred Solomon Islands public servants has been put on hold, after the government referred the issue to the Trade Disputes Panel.

The Public Employees Union is seeking a 50 percent across-the-board wage increase but the government has repeatedly said the economy cannot afford wage rises.

The union's industrial relations officer, Tony Baura, says his organisation is unhappy the matter is to go before the Disputes Panel.

"We are not very pleased with this. What we are worried about here is it will prolong this issue very much. It will depend on the Trade Disputes Panel to come to its conclusion - the quicker, the better."

Mr Baura says he hopes the Panel will issue a decision by the end of December.

The Regional Assistance Mission official appointed as deputy secretary in the finance ministry, Colin Johnson, says the department has no comment on the latest development, other than to say things are at a very sensitive stage.