Tuesday, 26 February 2008 1:29 PM

Kagovai, Be Honest With RIPEL Strike: Whiteside

The Solomon Times Online reported on 6th February 2008, the Seceretary General of the Solomon Islands National Union of Wokers (SINUW), Tony Kagovai, insisting that Whiteside should "Just Give Up".

In an e-mail to the Solomon Times in response to the article John Whiteside, General Manger of the Russell Islands Plantations Limited (RIPEL), said that Mr. Tony Kagovai should "make a sincere and honest effort to understand the truth."

"It is inappropriate for Mr. Kagovai to comment on the Trade Disputes Panel case because that matter is still before the High Court under Civil Case No. 557/05 and is still pending," said Mr. Whiteside.

Mr. Whiteside also said that contrary to what has been said publically by Mr. Kagovai, other cases that went before the courts were in favor of RIPEL.

"This included a case that went before the High Court (Civil Case) on 17th November 2004, and another case that went to the Court of Appeal, which was heard on 27th July 2005," said Mr. Whiteside. "SINUW lost its appeal against these High Court Orders."

According to 'Section 10' that Mr. Kagovai claims was breached by RIPEL General Manager, Mr. Whiteside, it is very clear that this was settled before the High Court.

Mr. Whiteside informed Solomon Times that Mr. Kagovai's illegal strike against RIPEL was not for higher wages or improved benefits for workers but simply was for his removal over "Section 10".

Simply stated, the finding of the High Court on 17th November 2004 was that Mr. Whiteside did not breach Section 10.

Mr. Whiteside said that Mr. Kagovai's claim that this matter has "gone back and forth from Magistrates Court to High Court to this day" is simply not true.

Mr. Whiteside believes that Mr. Kagovai should come out clean and admit that he has mislead RIPEL workers and the general public.

The RIPEL strike, which has gone on for well, over a year has cost millions of dollars. The cost continues to rise as the strike prolongs.

Mr. Kagovai could not be reached for comments.