23 Jul 2007

Solomons teachers firm in strike action, not confident in government assurance

1:41 pm on 23 July 2007

The Solomon Islands National Teachers Association, or SINTA, says it lacks confidence in a government assurance that it's committed to paying the teachers' claim.

Six thousand teachers began the second week of their nation-wide strike today despite a call by the Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, to return to work.

The teachers are frustrated that the government is yet to implement provisions agreed to in January, including re-leveling of the pay structure.

Mr Lilo says teachers should not force the government to make an illegal arrangement to pay for their claim of nearly eight million Solomon Islands dollars.

He says they should wait for parliament to pass the supplementary appropriation bill 2007.

But, SINTA's spokesman, Johnley Hatimoana, claims there is no provision for their money in the budget.

"We've contacted the Public Accounts committee. They deal with supplementary and all that, and they confirmed to us that there is no supplementary of 7.6 million dollars (SI) in front of them so what we are saying here is: whether the Ministry or the Finance Minister is telling the truth, we are yet to establish those facts.' seconds"