Friday, 27 June 2008 9:10 AM

Law and Practicalities: Telekom

The recent Telekom striking-case presents an argument for how it seem we will appeal more to law/Courts in Solomon Islands to solve such Telekom-impasses. Conversely, practicalities may present now to SI-ders, their government, and other stakeholders, the need to think, and act anew before disputes of such nature arises in the future.

Maybe we have been bamboozled by been over exposed to, 'dispute resolution' and not 'dispute recognition'. We may not need the former if we focus attention and energy to the latter, and I have a right to be wrong!

The now Telekom-way of assertion by 'strike' will not be the last. It certainly sets a precedence, and fuel for other assertions of collective voices, particularly in a statutory and government context. I must be clear: I am not saying our legal apparatus should not be invoked is such instance, nor advocates for "strikes" for the removal of company bosses. Simply put, against a trend that may arrestingly pose to be a "normalcy" for our years ahead, SIG, unions, and corporations should be thinking anew on how to ensure that internal practical mechanisms to recognise looming disputes before they develop to typhoonial levels are tailored out for immediate use, before the usual long march to the Courts.

While there are so many ways in which one can choose to interpret the recent Telekom case, depending on where one is coming from (beneficiary, observer or the injured), certainly it can be difficult to argue against the view that, we should be doing things practically different at corporation-workers-to-bosses level. And one can also argue that the same can be said on how SIG relates to corporation/statutory disputes. This is if we are to manage effectively the "always-mentality" of resorting to law, as courts will always rule along laws/regulations (this is their rightful practice), when the disputes may appeal to practicalities that have outgrown respective regulation. And law may at times, in the aforementioned context, I imagine can have a blind spot for some of the social dialectics of disputes. I am basically thinking here of families with no breadwinner, and unemployment resulting from strikes, amongst others.

The good news is that the Telekom dust has settled. Now that Telekom workers' are heading back to their jobs, and the Telekom boss may be heading out of the country soon to another job (with huge compensation!), stakeholders may like to salvage some lessons from the experience; maybe they could contribute to a 'Dispute Recognition for Resolution for statutory body's Bill? Some kind of fresh frames to manage at corporation level the chasm between 'appealing to law' and 'get real with practicalities', to better solving disputes of the recent Telekom nature, as experience has shown as stated by Dennis Lloyd (1964) 'that law is one of the great civilising forces in human society', and the growth of societies have been linked with its gradual development of its rules and regulations, however, above all it is always in tune with machineries for their regular practical enforcement. The practicalities surrounding corporation disputes may inform better the development of law and the court's decision, when like matters arise in the future, and, thus there may be a need to carry out an exercise to learn from the recent Telekom-collective-assertion which has just bear fruition.

We haven't seen the Telekom strike opting for the 'long march' (close to!) but these are just views to contribute to an issue many SI commentators have had they say on already.

I rest my case.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of George Hoa'au and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

Other Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province