2 Dec 2003

Striking Solomon Islands public servants called back to work

11:31 am on 2 December 2003

Thousands of striking public servants in Solomon Islands have been called back to work today after the government referred their wage dispute to the Trades Dispute Panel.

The workers from nine ministries, who are members of the public employees union, went on strike on Friday night to push for a 50 percent wage rise, which the government has repeatedly said it will not, and cannot, pay.

The union maintains the workers have lost a lot of ground over the past ten years.

And union secretary, Clement Waiwori, says boosting their wages is a vital part of normalising life in Solomon Islands.

"These are the officers who will be eventually implementing government policies and recovery programmes of governments, and if there is not any incentive for them how would you expect them to perform their duties honestly and to the satisfaction of any political government?"

The Trades Disputes Panel is to hold its first meeting on the issue today.