29 Jan 2004

Australian multi national working for RAMSI slammed for cutting wages for its Solomons workers

4:43 pm on 29 January 2004

The Australian company, Patrick Defence Logistics, has defended big cuts to the wages it is paying Solomon Islanders working for it in Honiara.

Patrick has the contract from the Australian led Regional Assistance Mission to provide accommodation, meals, maintenance, transport and other support activities for the two bases set up at Honiara's Henderson Field Airport.

It has been employing Solomon Islanders in a range of roles since it arrived, but this week, wages and allowances were cut.

One commentator, John Roughan of the Solomon Island Development Trust says this is disgraceful behaviour from such major Australian company.

A spokesperson for Patrick, Felicity Moffat, admits the pay has been cut, but she says the new rates are set at at least 30 percent more than the going rate in Honiara.

She says the work environment is improved and the new agreements, negotiated with church organisations, are for a two year period, when previously they had been short term casual contracts.

But Mr Roughan says the nature of the work has not changed and the slashed wages shows the arrogance of Patrick Logistics, which is exploiting unorganised workers who are desperate for employment.