The workers of SolBrew Company Ltd. went on strike this morning over the issue of non-payment of allowances, in particular the danger allowance contained in the Collective Agreement signed between the Solomon Islands National Union of Workers (SINUW) and the SolBrew Ltd (employer) on behalf of the workers.Speaking to Solomon Times, SINUW worker, Barry Samson, said the Collective Agreement, signed and effective in January 2006, contained all the terms and conditions of employment of the employees of SolBrew, including Wages, Allowances and Incentives.
He said that the issue of non-payment of these allowances was first brought to the attention of the Employer by the Union some six months ago.
However, the Employer has, all along, denied the non-payment instead claiming that they have paid all the allowances under the agreement to the workers concerned.
This claim has been denied by the Union who, upon checking pay-slips supplied by the disgruntled workers, saw no indication that allowances claimed were paid.
Mr. Samson said that after exchange of correspondences between the parties (Union/Employer), the Employer still maintained their claim of having paid the allowances in question.
This prompted the Union to issue a letter on 19th November 2007, giving 14 days notice to take industrial action if the Employer still refuses to pay.
The Employer, according to Mr. Samson, maintained its position up to the expiry of the 14 days notice.
Mr. Samson said that the Union, after being mandated by the workers, issued another 7 days strike notice on 7th December, which lapsed last Friday.
The Employer, upon receiving the 7 days strike notice Tuesday last week, referred the matter to the Trade Disputes Panel (TDP) as a 'trade dispute'.
Mr. Samson said workers this morning went on strike by assembling at the front gate and blocking the entrance from customers.
Individuals who did not support the strike were stopped from entering the premises by the frustrated workers.
The sit-in strike went through the meeting, prompting the TDP Chairman to deliver a letter of response to the referral made by the Employer.
Meetings and consultations was held today with workers and management, which resulted in the strike being called off.
Workers were dispersed to their homes and are expected to resume duties tomorrow.