BY SAMIE WAIKORI
THE 28 days strike notice issued by the Workers Union of Solomon Islands (WUSI) to the Malaita Provincial government on behalf of the provincial government direct employees has been withdrawn.
The matter was in relation to an agreement that WUSI had with the previous provincial government on the pay structure of provincial direct employees.
Malaita Premier, Daniel Suidani said the issue has been dealt with, resulting in the withdrawal and the agreement by the employees to the public service unified salary pay structure.
He said an issue that his MARA government dealt with was the high salary given to MPG direct employees, where from level four to level 10, direct employees were paid higher compared to public servants.
Suidani said this is an issue they looked at as they depend on the national government’s funding to pay for direct employees’ salaries.
“So why should we pay higher salaries than the one who gives to us? For the past couple of years our direct employees have been enjoying high pay rise at the expense of little or no service delivery as seen during past administrations,” he said.
On that note, Suidani said having to decide and reverse an existing practice is not an easy thing.
He however said with the guidance of law, regulations and ordinance this was possible.
“The governing rule for Malaita province becomes crucial, where important decisions that will incur huge financial commitment on the provincial government must be endorsed by the executive and passed by the full assembly.
“In absence of this, my government has established that the basis on which the direct employees pay rise was committed us was illegal.
“To implement this decision, we have to work closely with the salary department of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury as well as to explain to our employees the reason for this executive decision,” he said.
Suidani said that upon MARA government’s stand not to entertain this high salary and other claims that were not clear, WUSI colluded with its members who are direct employees under Malaita province and the union issued his government with a 28 days Strike Notice.
He said the administration of MPG has responded to the notice with a series of actions already taken including meeting with direct employees and the union to clarify and put right matters that have become the subject of the strike notice.
“This resulted in the strike notice being withdrawn and direct employees accepting the decision that their salaries will now be paid according to the Solomon Islands public service Unified Salary Pay Structure,” Suidani said.