24 Aug 2009

Solomons strike threat fizzles as dispute panel takes charge

1:43 pm on 24 August 2009

It appears that most public service employees in Solomon Islands are at work today after the government referred their dispute to the Trade Disputes Panel.

The deadline for a nationwide strike passed at midnight, with the Public Employees Union demanding a 20 percent pay increase in light of an increase in entitlements for members of parliament and a 6-thousand US dollar gratuity for their spouses.

The government has referred the issues to the Trade Disputes Panel which has called on union members not to take industrial action, while its resolving their claims.

Earlier today it was unclear whether workers had heeded that call, and there was confirmation that the Civil Aviation Department had gone out on strike causing disruption to passengers at Honiara Airport.

But our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says it appears that most public service employees have gone to work today, and aviation workers have returned to work.

She says the union has yet to state whether it has officially withdrawn its strike notice.