25 Aug 2009

Solomon Islands govt and union group called on to meet

6:51 am on 25 August 2009

The Solomon Islands Trade Disputes Panel has summoned members of the Solomon Islands Public Employees Union, or SIPEU, and the Government for a meeting today.

It comes amid an industrial dispute in which the union is making a number of claims, including for housing and other entitlements, and for a Variable Cost of Living Adjustment Allowance.

The Secretary to the Trades Disputes Panel, Beverley Sulai, says at the hearing the agency will consider whether the matter should proceed straight to arbitration, rather than first go through the conciliation process.

The Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sukua, has joined the fray, saying the union should attend because the Government intends applying for an order that the parties begin negotiation before any arbitration.

He says SIPEU has been difficult to talk to, unlike the allied Solomon Islands Teachers' Association, which he praises for its willingness to negotiate.