Thursday, 26 June 2008 8:13 AM

Telekom Strike Escalates

The Telekom strike is escalating with striking workers now accusing their beleaguered CEO Martyn Robinson of campaigning to keep tariffs on the increase and manipulating accounting figures to keep telecommunications charges high.

The workers made the allegations in a press release responding to a statement recently published in the Solomon Star claiming that under Robinson, Telekom has grown to one of the most successful businesses in the country.

The statement defending Robinson also said that because of his leadership Telekom made high profit returns to the NPF and tens of millions of dollars annually in tax to the Government. The workers statement says this is not true.

In their statement, the workers say that over the last seventeen (17) years Mr. Robinsons Management did little to reduce telecommunication charges. The statement said that instead of reducing prices, Robinson fought for tariff increases to maximize profits.

"This means, when customers suffer the high cost of communication in the Solomon Islands, all he cares about is to satisfy the shareholders and to retain his job with substantial salary and high bonus payout by Cable and Wireless," according to a statement from the striking workers.

The workers dismissed claims that provincial centres are unprofitable and therefore telephone charges needed to remain high so as to subsidize provincial operations.
"This is inaccurate public information as the costs figures had been manipulated to deliberately show that all provincial centres are making a loss except for Honiara. This must be investigated and the Chief Executive is answerable," the workers statement says.

In response to the allegations, Robinson told the National Express late yesterday afternoon that the allegations were totally untrue. Robinson said that if he had indeed manipulated the accounting figures, he would want to know why Price Waterhouse/Coopers signed off the company's yearly audited accounts year after year.

In latest developments, unconfirmed reports have stated that the Minister of Finance, Snyder Rini, has stepped in calling for the resignation of Martyn Robinson.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province