Tuesday, 25 August 2009 8:19 AM

No Counter Offer Made to SIPEU: PM

The prime minister says government has not made a counter offer to SIPEU log of claims because the Union was not willing to discuss with government "a framework for negotiation."

Dr Derek Sikua says the SIPEU executive failed to attend a meeting for all public service unions to meet the government negotiating team in the cabinet conference room last Thursday.

He says the Attorney General had drafted a written Memorandum of Understanding setting out the negotiating process.

Dr Sikua says SIPEU refused to attend the meeting so the parties were unable to conclude the M-O-U.

He says the M-O-U if signed, would have set a clear pathway for the parties to agree on a list of matters for negotiation, including the log of claims of other unions.

He says the M-O-U would have agreed on a time limit for the government to make a counter offer, and to agree on a time limit for the unions to respond to the government's counter offer.

The Prime Minister explains that before government could make a counter offer, it must fully understand the SIPEU log of claims.

SIPEU's President Douglas Ete says this is unprecedented and the Sikua-led government is the only government that has not given the union a counter-offer before referring it to the T-D-P.

Mr Ete says the union now enters arbitration, without a counter offer.

The SIPEU President also says the union wants the Trade Disputes Panel to be specific with preliminary hearing dates to adhere to arbitration purposes.

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