DISPUTE SET FOR HEARING

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CEO of SIPA Mr Eranda Kotelawala.
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TDP schedules initial appearance for Sept 28

By EDDIE OSIFELO

THE preliminary hearing of the industrial dispute between Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) workers and their Chief Executive Officer, Eranda Kotelawala, is scheduled for 28th of September next week.

The hearing starts at 9am inside TDP court room.

According to those familiar with the process, lawyers of both parties will turn up on the day to update the TDP on the status of their clients and the work they did leading up to this process.

Workers Union of Solomon Islands (WUSI) is representing the workers in this case.

The dispute is centred around three issues.

This was revealed in an application filed by Workers Union of Solomon Islands (WUSI) to Trade Dispute Panel against Kotelawala on 2nd September 2022.

WUSI claimed:

  1. The Chief Executive Officer of SIPA changed the signed Collective Agreement between WUSI and SIPA, dated 8th February, 2018, without consulting the Workers Union of Solomon Islands.
  2. The CEO of SIPA deliberately delayed and refused to negotiate and deal with workers Log of Claims for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
  3. The management style of the CEO of SIPA is such that becomes a threat to the industrial relation peace in Solomon Islands.

WUSI General Secretary, Tony Kagovai said based on their experiences in these positions over the years they are very concerned about what they see as real threat which the CEO of SIPA Kotelawala has posed upon the Industrial Relations system in the Solomon Islands.

“There are eleven registered trade unions in Solomon Islands. Ten of them represent public sector workers such as public servants and teachers.

“The Workers Union of Solomon Islands is the only trade union that represents private sector workers in Solomon Islands including SIPA workers,” Kagovai said.

He said WUSI has been negotiating Collective Agreements over the years, with companies and statutory corporations such as SIPA which covers all the terms and conditions of employment of these private sector workers in the country.

TDP has already informed CEO of SIPA on 5th September 2022.

Kotelawala said he will comment when seeing the content of the application.

Under Section 10 of the Trade Dispute Act 1981,

10.-(1) At any time when a trade dispute has been referred to the Trade

Disputes Panel and the Panel have neither:

(a) succeeded in bringing about a settlement of the dispute by negotiation, nor

(b) made an award in the dispute, no person shall do any of the things mentioned in subsection (2).

(2) Those things are:

(a) calling, organising, procuring or financing a strike or other industrial action short of a strike in furtherance of the dispute, or threatening to do so;

(b) instituting, carrying on, authorising, organising or financing a lock-out or other industrial action short of a lock-out in furtherance of the dispute, or threatening to do so; or

(c) terminating (for whatever reason) the contract of employment of any employee whose conditions of service are in issue in the dispute.


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