SIPEU pushes on border claim

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By Mike Puia

THE Solomon Islands Public Employees Union (SIPEU) is not giving up hope in pursuing a claim on the government to compensate government workers who were involved in operations at the border separating Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands during the Bougainville crisis of 1988 to 1998.

During a courtesy call last week, SIPEU brought back the issue before Prime Minister Rick Hou.

SIPEU’s General Secretary, Robert Au, said their union wants to see its members, who had risked their lives during the crisis, compensated.

Au said to date only members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) have had their claims paid.

He said government workers who served under marine, quarantine, immigrations and customs also risked their lives.

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Au said some government workers are still working, some have retired and others have died without compensated for their vital service.

He said police were at the frontline during the crisis but government workers played support role like logistics, site clearance, electrical work and many others at high risk.

Au said from 2014 to 2015 they wrote to different government ministries to help facilitate this claim.

He said there is a working group within the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) that is working and following up on this issue.

Au said when they raised this issue with Prime Minister Hou, he acknowledges the claim but advised the union to continue and check with line ministries.

“The feedback we get is, we need to produce a genuine list” Au said.

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