17 Feb 2004

Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands again calls for delay in union pay demands

11:53 am on 17 February 2004

The head of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Nick Warner, has repeated Ramsi's call for public-sector unions to delay their pay demands.

Public-sector unions in Solomon Islands are locked in a stalemate with the Government and Ramsi over pay demands which Ramsi has said the country cannot afford yet.

Mr Warner says Ramsi shares the demand for a public service that has a good working environment and is well trained, well equipped and appropriately paid.

He says the only difference between Ramsi and the unions is over how quickly the necessary improvements can be made for the public service.

"Our position is we need to go more slowly if we are going to end up with this objective of the well paid, well equipped, well functioning public serivce, If we try to rush this service, or any of the processes of economic reform and restructuring, we are likely to bring the whole process down."

Mr Warner says Ramsi has acted as a middleman over the issue, and it is up to the Government and unions to work out a solution that will not ruin economic reform.