MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 4) - The government of Solomon Islands has welcomed a High Court ruling that a strike by airport workers, which crippled the state-owned Solomon Airlines, was illegal.

A statement from the Prime Minister's office said the ruling is a strong signal to unionists, which walked off the job for four days in January.

The Prime Minister's office said the High Court's ruling, which is in favour of the government, should be a lesson to unionists who use strikes as a means to get what they want from their employers.

In his ruling, Chief Justice Sir John Muira told the court that the strike by workers from the aviation, immigration and meteorological divisions in early January over harassment claims was unlawful because they failed to give a 28 day strike notice as required under the Essential Services Act.

Muira urged as part of his ruling that government and the Solomon Islands Public Employees Union representing the airport workers to take all steps to resolve the dispute amicably.

February 4, 2003

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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