Tuesday, 29 January 2008 4:48 PM

Guadalcanal Landowners Confront Union General Secretary

The General Secretary for Solomon Islands National Union of Workers, Tony Kagovai, says the issue of the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited workers has caused disagreement between landowners and SINUW.

A decision was reached by the Trade Dispute Panel on 9th January which, according to Mr. Kagovai, was for SINUW to meet with GIPPOL workers who are members of the Union to discuss the matter.

"The Trade Dispute Panel does not recognise any existing work relation between GPPOL workers and SINUW, and that was the issue to be discussed," Mr. Kagovai said.

However, the meeting to be held on Sunday 13th January 2008 was disrupted.

"We went down to our agreed meeting place but the Chairman of landowners in the area, who is a security, did not want us there," the SNIUW General Secretary said.

It was revealed that the situation was not looking good and "we did not want to encourage any violent confrontation so we only advised workers on a strike notice before leaving the scene".

The SINUW General Secretary speculated on the possibility of landowners being advised by the company to intervene on the matter.

A reliable insider told Solomon Times that police officers at Tetere Police Post have been warned of the situation.

Meanwhile, the Plantation Manager, Wilfred Tangole, told Solomon Times in a phone interview that the confrontation between landowners and SINUW was "an isolated issue that happened outside the GPPOL area and the management is not a party to their row".