15 Jul 2013

Solomons teachers will strike till paid

7:18 pm on 15 July 2013

Teachers in Solomon Islands are on strike over the same issue for the third time this year.

The president of the Solomon Islands National Teachers Association, or SINTA, says the government has forgotten, perhaps deliberately, to complete its payment of teachers' relevelling dues.

Samson Faisi says the industrial action involves all teachers, from those in early childhood education through to secondary school.

He told Annell Husband teachers will not accept any more assurances from the government and classes will only resume once it has paid all the money it owes them.

SAMSON FAISI: We asked the government first to complete from Level 2 right up to Level 6, and then also must complete Level 7 up to Level 12. Then we can call off the strike.

ANNELL HUSBAND: I thought the government had undertaken to complete all the revelling by the end of this month, though?

SF: Yeah, the date that they promised us...Well, not written in black and white, not in written form. They only gave that confirmation and that assurance to the media, as well as through text messages given to us. That was the assurance that they expected to complete the exercise by 25 July. And the question that arose at that time is since when does this government, especially the minister of educaiton, give an assurance to all teachers and yet fail to lead by this assurance? So that's why I think to get enough assurances we will keep on strike, until you pay for the original classes.

AH: Sending messages to you by text message - that seems very unorthodox.

SF: Exactly. I don't know, because that's the only thing. This government is telling a lot of lies to the people of this nation, especially the teachers. And we, SINTA, haven't received any black and white from them so it can give us something that... But passing messages through telephones and through fixed lines or whatever, mobile phones, that is the case of a government that has no accountability to its people.

AH: Three strikes, though, in the course of just some months. That's a lot of disruption to the students, isn't it?

SF: Exactly. A lot of disruption. I only wish that the parents have that concern, rather than our teachers as well as SINTA calling three strikes. Maybe this will go in the history of this nation as three strikes within the span from the same bureau, on the same issue over a period of seven months. So if the parents could have that same concern as the government that we are victimising the kids, then they should press on this governemnt to act smartly and act honestly and then fulfil what they've said to teachers. Relevel them, give them increments, then we can move from there.