11 Apr 2005

Solomon Islands plantation company given ultimatum over NPF debt

5:41 pm on 11 April 2005

Russell Islands Plantation Estates Limited in Solomon Islands has been warned to settle its workers National Provident Fund contribution by May 20th or face immediate legal action.

The company owes the National Provident Fund more than 200 thousand US dollars, dating back to January 2001.

In a letter to RIPEL's general manager John Whiteside last week, NPF's Luke Ramosaea said records show the non-compliance to monthly contribution dues has been evident for some time without any positive response from the company.

While Mr Whiteside has acknowledged owing the money, he says he's surprised that NPF is issuing a legal threat when everyone else owes the fund unpaid contributions.

He says RIPEL promises to settle the amount but questions why other companies who owe more to NPF haven't been targetted.

Mr Whiteside says RIPEL will settle the debt if NPF asks the National Union of Workers to solve an ongoing industrial dispute that has seen over three quarters of RIPEL's workers on strike.