8 Apr 2010

Strike hits PNG's Ok Tedi mine

3:36 pm on 8 April 2010

Papua New Guinea's largest copper and gold mine has stopped production for a week due to 1,000 workers striking over expatriate staffer getting better benefits and bonuses.

The strike at the Ok Tedi Mining Ltd's Tabubil, Kiunga and Bige sites in Western Province began a week ago when local workers raised concerns over profit distribution through the company's the so-called Shares in Success Scheme.

On Wednesday, government labour and industrial relation department officials arrived to help resolve the dispute.

The Trade Union Congress general secretary, John Paska, said if the mine paid for the officials' trips it would be a conflict of interest.

Mr Paska says the bonus payments have not met the workers expectations.

He says local workers claim more is being paid to expatriate workers and management.

The company's Managing Director, Alan Breen, says theShares in Success Scheme has been provided for three years as an incentive to retain and attract employees.

He says the union is misinformed about the bonuses, which he says are distributed fairly across the workforce.

Mr Breen says OK Tedi workers are among the highest paid in the country and receive substantially more benefits than in other companies.