19 Jan 2004

RAMSI head says the Solomon Islands Government must be willing to make tough decisions

4:25 pm on 19 January 2004

The head of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Nick Warner, says the government needs to make some tough decisons if it wants to succeed with economic reform.

The warning comes after the government gave in to strike threats by public sector unions, awarding them backdated pay increases in line with a Trade Disputes Panel ruling.

But, Mr Warner says the Solomons government doesn't have the money to finance such a pay rise.

He says if the increase went ahead, the health and education sectors would have to miss out on much needed cash.

Mr Warner says a review of the public sector would be a wiser move.

"I think it's important to look at the size of the public service as it is now, what size public service Solomon Islands needs, what size public service Solomon Islands can actually afford, both now and in the future, what are the training needs of the public service, what are the conditions of employment more broadly"

Mr Warner says a fair pay rise would probably result from such a review.