19 Dec 2003

Solomons advisor rules out more than 2.5 percent rise public service pay rise

4:39 pm on 19 December 2003

A leading Australian economic adviser in Solomon Islands has ruled out any increase in the 2.5 percent public servants' pay rise.

The Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, has announced that the 1500 public servants will get such a pay rise from January.

The public servants' union wanted a backdated eight percent pay rise, and is now considering whether to take court action against the Government.

But the Solomon Islands under secretary for finance, Colin Johnson, says 2.5 percent is all the country can afford, and back-dating it is out of the question.

"I think the public servants should be patient, they shouldn't look at derailing the recovery that's hopefully just started. We realise that they haven't had a pay increase for a very long time, that their real wages have fallen a lot, but they need to recognise that the Solomons effectively is a bankrupt country."

Colin Johnson says the two point five percent pay rise will cost 4.7 million Solomon Island dollars next year, whereas an eight percent pay rise would cost 55.5 million.