10 Oct 2002

Solomon Islands Archbishop rebukes both sides in teacher strike

11:39 am on 10 October 2002

The Solomon Islands Christian Association says strike action by teachers during the fifth form examinations is immoral.

The teachers who are owed four weeks of outstanding wages went on an indefinite strike yesterday despite examinations scheduled throughout the week.

SICA's spokesman, Archbishop Sir Ellison Pogo, says the country understands and sympathizes with the difficulties the teachers are experiencing, but he condemns the use of strike action during the examinations.

"T hey waited until the exams were coming up. These exams were the leverage to push the government to pay them. I think this is where SICA also says this is an immoral act for them to use this as an excuse to force the government to pay their salaries. And in this regard the students are victimised - the innocent ones have been victimised by this whole process."

Archbishop Sir Ellison Pogo also says the Government has handled the issue irresponsibly.

He says it needs to be truthful and honest with its workers, and if there is not enough money, ministers should share the pain, by foregoing entitlements such as overseas trips, and taking cuts in their salaries.