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Monday, August 24, 2009

SIPEU strike on today despite Trade Dispute Panel referral

The office of Trade Dispute Panel (TDP) has taken action to ensure the Solomon Islands Public Employees Union, SIPEU is being officially notified about the referral of their log of claims to the panel by the Ministry of Public Service last Friday.

TDP Chairman Francis Luza says the panel served a letter to inform both government and SIPEU about the referral.

It is understood that SIPEU has issued written letters to its essential service members that the planned strike action will go ahead as at 12 midnight last night because SIPEU was not aware of the matter being referred to the TDP.

Mr Luza says it would be a problem if SIPEU did not receive the panel's letter on the referral.

But he says as far as the TDP is concerned, the letter has been served and no strike action should take place.

Mr Luza says now that the matter has been referred to the TDP, the panel will ensure the dispute is listed as an urgent matter for hearing to help both parties resolve their disagreements.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Service is asking all public officers to turn up for work today.

Permanent Secretary, Ishmael Avui says the matter between the government and the Solomon Islands Public Employees Union has been referred to the Trade Dispute Panel, and public officers are expected to attend to work.

He says public officers failing the advice will be dealt with accordingly.

The Trade Dispute Panel also says SIPEU and its members are restricted to carry out any strike action.

It says non compliance with this advice is a breach of law and may lead to prosecution.

Attempts to confirm with the executive of SIPEU if the planned strike has been called off were futile.

SIPEU General Secretary Paul Belande last Friday said government could not refer the matter to the TDP without making a counter offer to SIPEU on its log of claims.

Mr Belande said section 10 of the TDP under which the strike notice has been referred says, if both parties agree to disagree or negotiations have reached a deadlock, then the matter should be referred.

He said in this case there was no deadlock in negotiations and government had made no counter offer to SIPEU.

Mr Belande said there are two ways to deal with the matter when it is referred to the TDP.

He said one is by having both parties to return to the negotiating table and if there is a deadlock then section 4 of the TDP is used where a conciliator is appointed to conciliate between both parties

Source: SIBC

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