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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

COPSU urges O'Neill Government to tell the truth on pay delays

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's Government urged to explain pay delays
The COUNCIL OF PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS (COPSU) is very much concerned that the State, being the biggest employer in the country, has failed drastically to pay the public servants on time as per the terms and conditions of employment embedded in the General Ordinances. The Public Sector Unions are been inundated by callers around the country enquiring about the reasons for non-payment on timely basis of fortnightly salaries.
The Council took note of the issue been polarized by the local media and Radio Australia on the state of the economy and the liquidity issue of the country. While the government is assuring the people of PNG that it is not broke, the turn of events in the first two months of 2016, is depicting a different scenario from what the government is propagating.
Late last year, leading to this year, the Council has noted that the State owes the public servants a billed liability of K300 million and an unfunded liability of K2.1 billion in superannuation contributions. This time, the workers (public servants) are not paid on time or are not paid at all and is a very critical issue as it impacts on the welfare of public servants.
The Chairlady of COPSU and President of Public Employees Association, Ms Emma Faiteli, stated that when workers of the government are not paid their due wages, it is a national disaster as the repercussions are far reaching than what meets the eye. There will be social and economic disorder when pay crisis like the one we are experiencing happens, and the government must be held accountable for such disaster.
To crystallise the impact of such crisis, Ms Faiteli said that as she goes to the media, teachers are not in the classrooms teaching and the policemen not doing policing work as they are in town at ATMs checking whether their pays have been processed. Public servants are forced to run to Loan Sharks to meet the family budget to sustain their families due to the delay in getting paid. To do that for the last three or four days amounts to so many hours of lost time which impacts the performance of these public servants and yet the government sees fit to call the public service inefficient and ineffective.
As the Chairlady of the Council, Ms Faiteli said the Affiliates of the Council demands that the government come out clear and tell the people of PNG the true state of the economy with the country’s debt levels to ease speculations by various sectors of the economy. The stop work by Contractors to the government on infrastructure projects, non-payment of superannuation contributions since November 2014, and now the delays in the payment of wages for public servants are indicators that there is a national liquidity issue been experienced.
Ms Faiteli said that the non-payment or delay in the payment of wages of public servants is denial of workers right to equal work, equal pay as espoused in the International Labour Organisations (ILO) conventions. When the right of workers are denied, it becomes an industrial issue which the Council will not hesitate to pursue if the problem is not attended to immediately.
Ms Faiteli said that the Council is calling on the government to give priority to its workers as the drivers of the development agenda. The public servants are not given prominence in the budgetary appropriations and development planning which portrays the attitude of the government to its employees. The Chairlady said that the affiliates are in the process of establishing a communiqué with the Chief Secretary to bring the Councils concerns to the government.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 3:45 PM. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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