Tuesday, 24 June 2008 7:13 AM

Telephones Down as Strike Continues

Solomon Islanders are increasingly feeling the pinch of the Telekom Strike as more systems are likely to go down.

Telephone links to most provincial centres in the Solomon Islands, except for Gizo, are down. Our Telekom's 318 striking workers have warned that if the strike continues more and more telecommunications systems are going to go out of service.

A statement from the striking workers said that because the ViaSat Link to most provincial centres is now down, there will be no telephone contacts with all the main provincial town centres of Auki, Malu'u, Lata, Taro, Yandina, Munda, and Taro.

Services such as the ABC Television network and One News will also be affected say the striking workers, warning that "the problem is going to get worse."

One of the striking workers said that it is misleading for Our Telekom's Management to say that they are sabotaging the equipments as "the primary reason is the fact that Telekom equipments and systems are very sensitive and need to be manned 24 hours...which is now not the case."

Meanwhile the 318 striking workers have pledged solidarity in their demand for their CEO's immediate removal, defying calls by the NPF Board for them to return to work.

"We will not be persuaded by any promise short of Robinson's immediate removal because the problem had been with the Telekom Board for more than one month and there is no guarantee that Telekom Board would keep their promise for Robinson to leave if we were to return to work first," the striking workers said.

The statement said that the call by Robinson for the workers to return to work is a clear admission of defeat for him in recognizing the extent of the workers solidarity, "he should accept defeat and do the sensible thing by resigning immediately," the statement reads.

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province