Solomons Government, Teachers Seek Long-Term Solutions

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Teachers asked to provide pay re-leveling submissions

By Douglas Marau

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 29, 2013) – The Solomon Islands Government has taken a positive step in finding a solution to deal with teacher’s outstanding claims effectively.

Following a meeting between officials of the education ministry, the teaching service commission, the Attorney General and Office of the Prime Minister last night, decisive action was taken to find a responsible long term solution to the teacher’s claims.

The Government in a statement last night said that they would urgently call all education authorities around the country to Honiara to make their submissions for re-leveling to the teaching service department.

From there, the teaching service department will then advise the teaching service commission who will then make the appointments.

The Government in the statement said this would then enable the entitlements to be determined and paid.

"This is the process set out in the Education Act and the Constitution of Solomon Islands," the statement said. "It will be the starting point to properly address these issues." The statement said the process should start this week.

"The education ministry will this week start the process by calling on all education authorities to formulate a list of teachers that are eligible for re-leveling of their posts according to the Teachers’ Scheme of Service as contained in the 2012 Teachers Handbook," the statement highlighted.

The Government statement said that the list should be submitted to the secretary of the teaching service commission for consideration by the commission before their appointments are made.

Meanwhile, the Trade Dispute Panel (TDP) hearing on the matter between the Solomon Islands National Teacher’s Association (SINTA) and the Government should be heard on Tuesday.

In the interim, the Government last night maintains that the strike action taken by SINTA is illegal and those who are responsible will be held accountable.

"The Government urges all teachers to return to work as the matter is now brought to the TDP." The Government in the statement has also queried the presidency of the president of SINTA who was alleged to have been sacked by the Honiara City Council (HCC) education authority.

But yesterday, SINTA president Samson Faisi said SINTA would only be willing to negotiate with the Government under the conditions that a deadline must be set for payments to be made and an MOU to guide the agreement.

"A lot of promises have been reached in past negotiations but nothing has been done, and that has caused a lot of frustration to teachers, therefore we still stand that our demand must be paid by February 7," Mr. Faisi said.

Mr. Faisi said after their meeting with teachers yesterday, they (teachers) agreed to continue on with the strike action until they receive what they demanded.

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