Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL) former employees have launched their constitution at DSE conference room, Chinatown on Friday.
This came about through the assistance of Solomon Islands Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Advocacy Association (SIIPHRAA).
Secretary of SIIPHRAA, Buddy Wickhams No’amasahu said the objectives of the association are:
1. To sort out the outstanding claims of workers;
2. Take back shares of RIPEL workers, Lavukal and company from Nationwide;
3. Work closely with stakeholders so they can re-open the company and
4. Re-engage or re-employ the workers of RIPEL.
No’amasahu said since the establishment of RIPEL, there is no association to represent the workers.
He said this the first time for an association to help former workers of RIPLE especially when they were claims of illegal harvesting on Russels.
“The government can work with this association because it is a legal body,” he said.
No’amasahu said so far there are 800 members in the association.
In the meantime, the Manasseh Sogavare led government is trying to resolve the long drawn industrial dispute of RIPEL at Yandina.
This came after successive government failed to address it until today.
The Sikua government had set up a Commission of Inquiry into RIPEL but no findings have been released until today.
Furthermore, the Danny Philip’s government decided to pay-off the property from Lever Solomons Ltd but his successor failed to honor it.
When Gordon Darcy Lilo came in power, his government decided to deport him which the High Court blocked the deportation order.
However, the Lilo’s government succeeded in dis-allowing Patrick Wong from entering the country as a prohibited immigrant.
The RIPEL operation came to a standstill following an industrial strike backed up by defunct Solomon Islands National Union of Workers (SINUW) on 17th June 2004.
At that time, RIPEL employed a total of 962 workers.
By EDDIE OSIFELO