28 Jan 2004

Solomons public service pay issue still debated

11:43 am on 28 January 2004

Efforts continue in Solomon Islands to persuade public servants to forego a wage rise which the government granted two weeks ago.

The Solomons Cabinet agreed to backdate a 2.5 percent pay rise to January last year and it also approved a cost of living allowance of eight percent backdated to 2002.

But the deal has attracted strong criticism from the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission which says the Solomons government cannot afford it and that it jeopardises the relationship with donors.

RAMSI has been talking with the union, most recently for much of yesterday, to try and persuade it to defer the rise.

A RAMSI official says they are not prepared to comment further at this stage, while it has not been possible to reach the union negotiator, Clement Waiwori.

However Mr Waiwori said before the meeting that while the union would be prepared to discuss a compromise, any decision would be up to the union membership.