Thursday, 3 July 2008 9:06 AM

Telekom Dispute

Take it or leave it is another demand made by our Telekom workers. Whether that expression touches, matters of industrial dispute, which are before the arbitration or the Court, I reserve it for legal counsels representing both parties to ascertain. Also the way forward depends on instructions received by clients and whether continuation of settlement talks would continue. Otherwise, both parties are heading towards the Courts and the Arbitration process.

Telekom workers are bound to comply with any Court Order, if there is one granted by the Court for all Telekom workers to resume duties forthwith, whilst, their grievances be registered with the Labour Department and allow the appointed Arbitrator to hear it. On the other hand, Telekom solicitors have the liberty to go to Court and amongst other relief seek Court Declaration on which registered claims, qualified as trade dispute under the Trade Dispute Act, and which ones are not. Until or unless the Court decides on this, the Arbitrator has the jurisdiction to determine this dispute.

Therefore, if Telekom solicitors opted to go back to Court for any legal clarifications on all demands registered by the Union, Telekom workers are advised to wait patiently, and allow the Courts and thereafter the Arbitrator to deal with it. I've said this because the Arbitrator or the existing Courts will not accept or give in all the demands registered by the Union and its members. Most of their fundamental demands fall outside the Trade Dispute Act; hence, there is no instant remedy available for them. Perhaps, their overall remedy is to seek changes to the existing industrial laws through the parliamentary process so that their grievances be considered therein.

Perhaps, proper advice must be given to all Telekom workers otherwise; the employer would turn around and say, Dear Sir,
Thank you for working with us for the past years and please be advised that your service is no longer needed. Please handover all the properties' of Telekom to the Head Office or nearest Office forthwith before 4 pm today. Failing to do so, we will refer the matter to the police for investigations and laying of possible criminal charges.

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

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