20 Jan 2004

Solomon Islands union says it's too late for new wage deal

5:18 pm on 20 January 2004

The Solomon Islands Public Service Employees Union says officials from the Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, and the Australian High Commissioner, have asked it to reconsider the agreement with government over pay increases.

Last week, the government gave in to strike threats by 7-thousand union members, and awarded them long-demanded wage increases.

RAMSI says the government cannot afford the pay increases.

The general secretary of the union, Clement Waiwori, who is also the president of the council of trade unions. says he's met RAMSI officials and the High Commissioner today.

"Well, I tell them that the negotiations are all over and it's a political decision. It would have been better if they interfere in the first place, in the discussions and the dialogue that we have had. If that is a concern of RAMSI and the concern of both the Australian government and New Zealand government, then they should be talking amongst themselves, on a government-to-government basis."

Mr Waiwori says a memorandum of understanding between the government and unions is to be signed this afternoon.

RAMSI financial advisors have refused comment.