1 Mar 2007

PNG's trade unions demand new inquiry into Moti affair

7:53 pm on 1 March 2007

Trade unions in Papua New Guinea want a fresh commission of inquiry set up into the Moti saga to reveal the truth.

They are threatening nationwide strike action which could bring the country to a standstill if the Prime Minister doesn't resign over his handling of affair.

They have condemned Sir Michael Somare for triggering conflict between the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government.

It comes after the prime minister sacked his defence minister for revealing that Sir Michael had forced him to disband the inquiry into the fugitive's escape to Solomon Islands aboard a PNG military aircraft in October.

Sir Michael has since begun legal action to have the inquiry's proceedings declared null and void.

The secretary general of the Trade Union Congress, John Paska, says the prime minister's choices are clear.

"He either steps aside or he recommissions a commission of inquiry to complete the task and that might diffuse the tensions that are currently building up."

Mr Paska says although strike action is a last resort, they're hoping their industrial muscle will be enough to negotiate a resolution.