28 Aug 2002

Solomon Islands government to pay arrears today but cannot meet wages tomorrow

1:28 pm on 28 August 2002

The Solomon Islands government says it will make a payment for wage arrears today to its civil servants but it cannot pay them their wages which are due tomorrow.

This is despite promising the Public Employees Association that it will meet the arrears and the pay over the next two days.

The permanent secretary of the finance ministry, Lloyd Powell, says if all goes smoothly, public servants will get their pay today which is owed from the 15th August but there is no cash flow to meet tomorrow's wages.

The failure of government to pay its workers on time has led to widespread disruption with aviation workers, teachers and nurses either working to rule or taking strike action.

The Public Employees Union says workers are owed six weeks wages as of tomorrow but this is disputed by Mr Powell who says that the government has met the arrears and will be only one payment down.

He also says that there's been no directive from cabinet to pay the arrears of teachers who are owed wages from the 8th and 22nd of August.

He understands that's because cabinet is waiting for the Ministry of Education to report on whether pay should be docked from teachers who took part in strike action.

Mr Powell says payments for police and special constables are in arrears for the 22nd August and the College of Education will be owed 3 lots of pay from the 1st, 15th and the 29th of August.

The permanent secretary says there is not enough revenue to meet expenditure and the government's cash flow problem is severe.