30 Jan 2013

Solomons police wary of intervening in teacher strike

7:57 pm on 30 January 2013

The Solomon Islands police force says it will only get involved in the trade dispute between teachers and the government as a last resort.

The Solomon Islands National Teachers Association has defied an order by the Trade Dispute Panel to call off its strike.

The union says it had been warned that teachers would face prosecution if they continued to strike, and they are prepared to be arrested.

No arrests have yet been made however, and the Police Commissioner, John Lansley, says he would prefer it if police involvement was not needed.

"It's something that I would much rather be considered through dialogue and through negotiation and through an understanding position rather than resorting to arresting people which at the moment we're not anticipating that form of action, at this precise moment. I'm not saying it's being ruled out completely because that would be wrong of me to say so, any matter that's against the law has to be considered but at the moment we're not considering arresting him at this precise time, no."

John Lansley says the police are monitoring the sit-in protest of about 200 teachers, which is being conducted lawfully on a private piece of land near the High Court in Honiara.