Solomon Islands High court orders striking teachers to return to class

Solomon Islands teachers have been ordered to return to the classroom following a two week strike.

The Solomon Islands High Court sat to hear the dispute on Thursday evening and ordered the teachers to go back to school as of Friday.

Dr Fred Aisom Rohorua, the Solomon Islands education permanent secretary, has told Radio Australia classes should return to normal by next Monday.

Dr Rohorua says teachers will not be penalized for going on strike if they return to school.

"If teachers can go back to school as is stated in the consent order, then there would be no disciplinary action against them," he said.

Dr Rohorua says this strike follows another two week strike at the beginning of the year.

"At the end of this week, they would have lost four weeks of the school year," he said.

"They lost two in term one and this is the third term and they've lost another two.

"I imagine those schools that have missed classes for those four weeks will have a lot of catching up to do."

Dr Rohorua says the teachers went on strike after their entitlements for a new pay increase were not met.

"These entitlements are contained in a new teachers handbook that was produced last year," he said.

"Unfortunately, we did not budget for that in this year's budget and that's what triggered the strike at the beginning of the year."

Dr Rohurua says the government has made a commitment to meet the entitlements through its own revenues.

"Some teachers were in fact re-levelled in the earlier part of the year, and there were some that were done during this pay period," he said.

"The remaining ones, we are working extremely hard to prepare the submissions so it's ready to be paid by the next fortnight.

"We're hoping by August 8, everyone will have been paid the entitlements according to the new teachers handbook."

ABC
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