19 Jan 2005

Call for more police action to end Solomons industrial row

3:38 pm on 19 January 2005

The copra and cocoa company at the centre of an industrial row in Solomon Islands says police should know how to stop violent clashes from recurring there.

Two local police officers were seriously injured yesterday by stones thrown by striking workers at the Russell Islands Plantation Estates.

Police arrested four people and used CS spray in trying to stop a group of striking workers from getting in the way of a vessel being loaded with copra.

The chairman of Russell Islands Plantation Estates, Patrick Wong, says despite the police action, there's still no law and order in Yandina.

"I may not go as far as saying they have lost control; they are taking action. I think they're getting to realise how serious it is, and based upon that, they should know how to deal with it."

Mr Wong says an industrial tribunal is making progress towards ending the company's dispute with the workers' union.

But he says a court has already ruled the strike illegal, adding neighbouring countries and regional assistance mission police should be aware of the worsening situation.