Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Unpaid Solomons Health Workers Threaten Mass Protest
Claim government owes over $135,100 for festival work

By Jennifer Kakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 14, 2012) – Health workers have given the Solomon Islands government until November 22 to pay their duty allowance for work done during the July Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) in Honiara.

Failure will result in a mass protest.

This decision was reached during a meeting held at the National Referral Hospital yesterday, chaired by FOPA health subcommittee head Dr. Aaron Oritaimae.

Dr. Oritaimae said 374 health workers have not been paid their allowances, which totals up to more than SB$1 million [US$135,100].

"The workers demanded their outstanding payment be made by 22nd of this month," Dr Oritaimae said.

"Failure would result in a protest, which will involve boycotting duties."

Workers also agreed that if they are not paid, they will not take part in any future event the government organizes.

"It is time for the government to stop playing games with us and pay us for what we have done," one worker said.

Dr. Oritaimae said the protest that will be carried out is based in principles and not money. "Our protest is on equity and fairness."

He said if other public servants are paid for their services during the FOPA, there’s no reason why health workers should be treated the same.

The demand will be submitted to the Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. Lester Ross today, who is expected to take it up with relevant government authorities.

Solomon Star
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