24 Nov 2004

Solomons police commissioner says courts should deal with strike

4:24 pm on 24 November 2004

The Solomon Island Police Commissioner, William Morrell, says police are dealing carefully with the Russell Islands Plantation strike.

Hundreds of workers have been occupying company facilities since Monday morning and RIPEL managers say they have received threats of bodily harm.

RIPEL has also written to police, asking them to take action against the workers after a court ruled the strike illegal.

However Mr Morrell says police are trying to avoid dealing with the 800 workers in a confrontational manner and there are also problems with getting manpower to where RIPEL is situated.

He says the matter should be left to the courts to deal with.

"The next step really in this is for the company to go back to the High Court again to say that strikers are in breach of the decision of the court and provide some evidence and the police will then help them in that regard. It would then be a matter for the court to take specific action, that might be an injunction, it might be an arrest warrant, that would be a decision for the High Court."

Mr Morrell says police are investigating the alleged threats against RIPEL management.