28 Jan 2004

Solomons public servants ready to compromise over controversial pay rise

5:02 pm on 28 January 2004

Public sector unions in Solomon Islands say they will recommend to members early next week that they compromise over the vexed pay-increase issue.

But the leader of the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Unions, Clement Waiwori, says the union wants a firm pledge the Government will meet a cost of living demand next year.

The union has been locked in a stalement with the Government and the Regional Assistance Mission, or Ramsi, over its demand for a 2.5 percent public-sector pay rise, backdated and followed by an 8 percent cost of living top-up.

The pay rise went ahead against Ramsi's objections.

Yesterday, however, officials from the Government and Ramsi tried to get the union's agreement to forego back-dating -- estimated to cost up to 40 million Solomon Island dollars -- and the cost of living adjustment.

Clement Waiwori says the union's been given time to consult members and seek a legal opinion, but the Government must make a commitment to it before it backs the deal.

"If that is the position of the Government and Ramsi, that they would like us to compromise this, then it must be on our terms."

We have to have a condition because whilst they were suggesting some halt to the Cola [cost-of-living] adjustment, there is not any future prospect of what they would do at the end of the day if January 2005 comes.

Clement Waiwori..