14 Jan 2004

Solomon Islands public service unions go on strike on Monday

4:56 pm on 14 January 2004

Solomon Islands' public service unions are furious with the Labour Minister, Trevor Olovae, who failed to turn up to a crucial meeting, yesterday, between themselves and the government.

The unions say Mr Olovae told them he would go along with whatever decision the Trades Disputes Panel made.

It ruled public employees were entitled to an 8-percent wage increase.

The prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, in Mr Olovae's absence, later vetoed the Panel's ruling.

The head of the Public Employees Union, Clement Waiwori, says the Labour Minister should revoke Sir Allan's variation of the Panel's ruling.

"I think he's a hypocrite. I think he's not telling the truth and he has been acting irresponsibly. As a minister of labour, he has a role to resolve the impasse and unfortunately, he took off yesterday to his constituency, and he's not here."

Clement Waiwori says another meeting between unions and government will be held on Thursday the 15th of January.