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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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

Solomons Teachers Tell Government To Pay Entitlements
SINTA head says re-leveling consult ‘a waste of time and money’

By Jennifer Kakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 30, 2013) – The Government is urged to pay Solomon Islands teachers’ rightful entitlements rather than taking "unnecessary steps" to deal with the issue.

SINTA (Solomon Islands National Teachers Association) president Samson Faisi said the government is using "delaying tactics" by referring the matter to the Trade Disputes Panel (TDP).

He was responding to the steps the government is taking to avert he current teachers’ strike.

Mr. Faisi said education authorities travelling to Honiara to make submission for re- leveling to the teaching service department is a waste of time and money.

"My question is: When was the last time this practice was done?" he asked. "To our knowledge, it’s been years so why now?"

Mr. Faisi said the claim that the government had not idea on the issue was a "total liar." "The Government should not hide its face when they are aware of this re-leveling issue."

Mr. Faisi said they have written three letters to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Education last year on the issue.

"They should go back and check their files for the letters unless they destroyed them.

"Myself and our general secretary also met with the prime minister and secretary to prime minister before we went to the World Teacher’s Day end of last on the issue thus there is no point of denying having no knowledge of this issue."

[PIR editor's note: Opposition leader Dr. Derek Sikua has also given support to teachers' calls for payment, denouncing the government action to reasses re-leveling as a "duplication" of measures taken in 2010 and 2011. Local police, meanwhile, have expressed that it would only become involved in the dispute between teachers and government as a last resort, although authorities are still monitoring the sit-in protest being staged at Honiara's High Court.]

Mr. Faisi added that SINTA still stand that the strike action taken is legal despite the government referring it to the Trade Disputes Panel.

"This issue does not need third party and it is an issue that already been agreed on and that Government fails to play its part in fulfilling the agreement."

Meanwhile Temotu, Malaita and Western provinces have reaffirmed their stand with Honiara teachers on the sit in protest yesterday.

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