29 Mar 2004

Solomon Islands public sector worker expect pay deal honoured

3:24 pm on 29 March 2004

Public sector workers in Solomon Islands say they expect the government to honour an agreement to settle a long-running pay dispute.

The deal provides for a 2.5 percent salary increase for 2003 but it will only be paid once parliament has passed the 2004 supplementary appropriation bill.

A cost of living adjustment of 8 percent for 2002 and 2003 is to be paid next year.

The agreement comes after a trade disputes panel ruling and after repeated strike threats last year and despite advice by the Regional Assistance Mission that pay rises are unaffordable.

The head of the Public Employees Union, Clement Waiwori, says he is aware of the government's finance problems.

"Well I'm not relieved yet. I've got a lot of job to do. There are a lot of outstanding issues which we are yet to sort out with the government. The government owe public officers a lot of money in terms of benefits, which the government hasn't paid as yet."