Solomon Islands' teachers set pay increase deadline | Pacific Beat

Solomon Islands' teachers set pay increase deadline

Solomon Islands' teachers set pay increase deadline

Updated 17 January 2013, 7:45 AEDT

The Solomon Islands' Teachers Asssociation has given the national government till the end of this week, to pay its members a promised increase in pay, or it will take industrial action.

The 2013 Solomons' school year is scheduled to begin next Monday.

But last year the government promised to increase its rate of allowances and pay, an increase that is still forthcoming.

The General Secretary of the Teachers Association Johnley Hatimoana says while the government has made the promise the country's public service appears to be dragging the chain.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Johnley Hatimoana, the General Secretary of the Solomon Islands' Teachers Association


HATIMOANA: The issue that is at hand is I regard that is a non issue. We have agreed to all these different allowances and different rate of pay in the past, especially last year and the Cabinet has already approved all this. It's just that the Public Service who are responsible to implementing those policies have not played their part, especially those who are working in the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

COONEY: The fact that this has not been resolved and they're not getting the pay increases that have been promised and agreed on. Are they suffering a bit of hardship because of this?

HATIMOANA: Well definitely. I mean the thing is that the rules and the employment law that we are operating under, our industrial relations system is that when the Cabinet has endorsed all these things is for payment. But again, when these things takes us this long and up until this time of the year. It is frustrating and the teachers are not feel good about it, and especially our Association, because we are the one that negotiated all these things and agree with the government on these things and we have celebrated all this agreement and unfortunately at the end of the day, this doesn't or did not implement it. So what's the use of signing all this agreement and the Cabinet approval and nothing is done.

COONEY: When do you want this resolved by? Have you given them a deadline that you want this sorted out by?

HATIMOANA: Well, the retrospective payment that we are demanding is supposed to be from now backdated to retrospective to 9th February,last year. It is now January and so we are asking the government to pay the differences between their old rate and the new rate. This is something like in arrears that the government hasn't paid to date. They have to pay this arrears by 17th January, this coming Thursday. Failure to do so, it could result in us taking industrial action in support of our demand.

COONEY: Last time we spoke as well, you're in dispute with the Honiara City Council over allowances paid for teachers who work and live in Honiara. Has that been resolved? We spoke about that in December. Has there been any resolution on that issue?

HATIMOANA: We resolved that by getting the government. It was about almost a million dollars. It was just about 600,000 dollars to pay for some, but that was not really resolved in a way that we have agreed on, especially on the part of the Honiara City Council who failed to play its part by giving the other 50% of that. But otherwise, we are waiting for them, because the teachers are now returning to schools and the City Council are saying that they're going to reimburse any sort of receipts that is produced by teachers. And we are waiting for that. If they reimbursed us, that means they're playing their part as well. So we're just waiting for that. Teachers are coming in an hopefully this week and next week.

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