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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 19) – Union officials are expected to push hard for a 5 percent salary increase for public servants in the Solomon Islands.

General Secretary of the Solomon Islands Public Employees Union Paul Belande said yesterday he would meet with Public Service officials today on the matter.

"We want the Government to give a 5 percent increase for public servants to be backdated to July 1, 2005," he said. "They deserve a pay rise in the light of the increasing cost of living in the country."

This would be the first serious discussion the union has had with the Government on the pay demand since the issue was raised last year, Mr. Belande told the Solomon Star yesterday.

The Government in 2004 gave public servants a 2.5 per cent salary increase.

At that time too, Solomon Islands Public Employees Union and the Government signed an agreement that spells out that any future increment to public services will be tied to performance.

But Mr. Belande claimed yesterday the Government had dishonored the agreement.

"It dishonored the agreement when it decided to re-level the paramedics, nurses, police and prison service. So we are now asking the Government to grant public servants a 5 per cent salary increase. I believe the Government has sufficient funds to meet that," he claimed yesterday.

Public Service officials could not be reached for comment.

January 20, 2006

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