22 Aug 2005

Vanuatu Labour Minister declares strike illegal

9:07 pm on 22 August 2005

Vanuatu's Labour minister George Wells has described today's strike by Air Vanuatu workers as illegal, and has had the matter taken to court.

Mr Wells says he has discussed the matter with the Attorney General, and concluded that the striking workers should be prosecuted for acting unlawfully.

The minister says last week he issued an order to workers which precluded them from striking until October 12th, in order to facilitate a process of arbitration between the airline's management and staff.

But Mr Wells says the Union has led the workers astray.

"The problem we have is that the union, instead of educating their workers about their rights, they, to my view, have some hidden agenda behind. So the government has to take some quick action - the attorney general to give his concern to the public prosecutor, to handle the case and prosecute all those involved in the illegal strike that has been happening today."

Labour minister George Wells