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Claim union membership, work breaks not allowed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, June 21, 2011) - Workers at the Soltai tuna processing plant in Solomon Islands are accusing management of not allowing them breaks.

The Solomon Islands National Union of Workers’ general secretary says staff held a sit-in last Friday but returned to work on Monday after the trade disputes panel agreed to consider their grievances.

The ownership of the Western Province plant at Noro is shared between the province, the global tuna supply company Trimarine, the Solomon Islands government and the workers themselves.

Tony Kagovai says the workers are protesting against changes to their hours of work and not being allowed to belong to the union, along with employment conditions.

"When the workers goes into the factory to work they lock them up between the eight hours and does not allow them to come out for a rest or a smoke or things like that or going to the toilet for relief. That’s what they did, they lock them up."

Tony Kagovai says the union’s asked the panel to investigate the matter urgently.

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