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

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

Solomons Government Approves $5.1 Million For Teachers
Teachers warned again to return to duties or face legal action

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 5, 2013) – The Solomon Islands Government is highly unlikely to offer a quick financial solution to deal with the teachers’ salary re-leveling exercise, which has been the subject of the current strike action.

This came after Government agreed to deal with the matter through its budgetary process which will take some time and requires the teachers’ patience.

It was confirmed by Secretary to Prime Minister Barnabas Anga, Secretary to Cabinet James Remobatu, Attorney General, Billy Titiulu, Acting permanent secretary of Ministry of Education, Aseri Yalangona and permanent secretary of Ministry of Finance, Shadrack Fanega over national broadcaster on Wednesday night.

Mr Anga said cabinet has already approved the SBD$38 million [US$5.1 million] for the re-leveling exercise.

He said this showed the Government was responsible and serious in dealing with the problem.

Mr. Fanega said the approval in cabinet was part of the process but the budgetary process will take a long time, but he said Government will still meet the dues of the teachers.

Mr. Yalangona said Ministry of Education is looking at calling on all the Education Authorities to address the re-leveling exercise in the next 14 days.

He said they will go through names of each teacher and make sure they are in the right schools to assist Finance for the date entry.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Billy Titiulu warned teachers to resume duties because failure to do that will have dear consequences against them.

He said what teachers are doing in contrary to advice of their solicitor and Trade Dispute Panel’s (TDP) decision on Tuesday for them to call off the strike.

Mr. Titiulu said if teachers continue to sit in strike it will affect their remuneration in the Government like salary cut and removal of long term benefits because their names will be recorded in the list.

He said if teachers continue to strike after panel give notice under section 10 they can be prosecute.

"You can end up in court; if guilty can pay SBD$1,000 [US$135] fine or six months imprisonment. If not, can be double like SBD$1,000 fine and six month imprisonment," he said.

However, as of yesterday, teachers still refused to resume their jobs and vowed to continue their sit-in protest at Town Ground today.

Solomon Star
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