3 Nov 2005

Solomons' RIPEL may appeal trade dispute ruling

4:35 pm on 3 November 2005

The Russell Islands Plantations Estates in Solomon Islands says it may appeal the Trade Dispute Panel's ruling in favour of striking workers.

RIPEL workers have been on strike for more than two years over poor pay, working conditions and problems with management.

The Panel has recommended that sacked workers be reinstated and that John Whiteside's role as General Manager be terminated.

The Chairman of the RIPEL Board, Patrick Wong, says the ruling is unfair.

He says it has not only left the cocoa and copra industry in tatters, it has negative implications for overseas investors.

"The government turned a blind eye. And the police didn't enforce law and order, nor did RAMSI. Now we have copra stolen, all the buildings have been ransacked. Who do you think will want to invest in Solomons? That is exactly what happened to SIPL the palm plantation, that's exactly what happened to the gold industry."

Patrick Wong, the chairman of RIPEL board