Wednesday, 11 June 2008 7:08 AM

SICTU Warns of Telekom Dispute Spreading

The Solomon Islands Council of Trade Unions, SICTU, has warned of the Telekom dispute spreading and bringing in international trade unions if the local employees go on mass resignation and Telekom tries to bring in foreign workers.

SICTU General Secretary, Tony Kagovai, said that if in desperation indigenous Telekom workers decide to take the risk and go on mass resignation, to avoid breaching section 10 of the Trade Disputes Act, this will put the dispute at a totally different level.

Kagovai said that Section 10 of the Trade Disputes Act prevents both parties from taking industrial actions while the case is still before the Trade Disputes Panel.

However, SICTU believes that if there is a mass resignation of Telekom workers, Telekom may try and get replacement workers from overseas, "this will definitely bring sympathy for Telekom workers by the international trade union movement," said Kagovai.

Kagovai says that SICTU is watching the dispute closely and SICTU will request international support from the international trade union movement for Telekom workers if Telekom tries to bring in workers to break up any actions taken by indigenous Telekom workers to force the CEO's departure.

The dispute has been referred to the TDP which has subsequently appointed two conciliators to look at the possibility of voluntary conciliation between the disputing parties.

However, if the conciliators find that it is not possible to resolve the dispute through conciliation then it will have to go into compulsory conciliation where the TDP will have to formally inquire into the dispute and make a formal decision on the dispute.

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