UNION CALLS OFF PROTEST RALLY IN HONIARA, TAKES LEGAL ACTION

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (March 31, 1999 -- Radio Australia)---A public rally planned for today by the Solomon Islands National Union of Workers in the capital, Honiara, has been called off, following a decision by Police Commissioner Frank Short not to grant a permit.

The union was planning to protest the dismissal of more than 400 workers from the logging company, Earth Movers, as well as issues related to the Solomon Mutual Insurance company and alleged Government corruption.

The workers from the logging company were sacked for striking, after the company rejected their claims.

Meantime, David Tuhanuku, President of the National Union of Workers, has announced that Police Commissioner Short is being taken to court for refusing to grant a rally permit.

Tuhanuku accused the police of unreasonably denying the rights of workers to pursue matters of concern and interest to the trade union movement.

Union officials said the police told them to write letters to the government instead of staging a public rally, because the matters are still before the courts.

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