13 Aug 2007

Solomons MPs see poor situation facing plantation workers in Russell Islands

6:23 am on 13 August 2007

A government delegation in Solomon Islands says they have seen for themselves the sad plight of plantation workers who are in dispute with their employers.

The group visited the Russell Islands Plantation Estate and their report has highlighted their concerns about the plight of cocoa and copra workers.

The employees took industrial action against company management in 2004.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says the report holds the company responsible for the situation facing the workers, and calls for government intervention.

"The situation is really bad there, the children aren't going to school. The clinics there aren't looking after people's health because workers have left because their not being paid because of the strike. And also its just socially and psychologically really bad for the workers. They've suffered for years because of the strike."

Dorothy Wickham says the government has suspended RIPEL's business licence.

But RIPEL management say they aren't responsible for the workers who chose to go on strike.

And it alleges that large amounts of company property has been destroyed and stolen, and that law and order must be restored.