45,000 teachers could strike in PNG
The Papua New Guinea Teachers' Association says up to 45-thousand teachers will plan a strike if salary discrepancies are not resolved by today.
The Papua New Guinea Teachers Association says 45,000 teachers will plan a strike if salary discrepancies are not resolved by today.
Its general secretary, Ugwalubu Mowana, says the Teachers Service Commission agreed to implement a negotiated pay-rise, but has not followed through.
He told Mary Baines 25,000 teachers out of 53,000 teachers in the country are not being paid their correct salaries.
UGWALUBU MOWANA: In the beginning of June, 2014, the Association threatened to take national action over discrepancies on the application and implementation of the 2014-2016 Salary Fixation Agreement, signed between the union and the state. We noted earlier in the year teacher appointments were done very late, as a result it affected the implementation of the agreement which made so many teachers not be paid the correct levels of salary as required by the award. 25,000 teachers out of the 53,000 teachers were not paid accurately by their correct salary levels.
MARY BAINES: How much are these teachers missing out on in their salaries?
UM: When we first made a claim in June we noted 25,000 teachers were missing out from their correct salaries, we calculated to that almost 1.4 million kina at that time. It could have gone beyond 1.4 million after June. On that basis we felt that there was a breach on the agreement so we threatened to go on strike if there is no remedies to be done on that particular problem that we have claimed.
MB: So 25,000 teachers could potentially be going on strike?
UM: If we have to go on strike, there will be more than 45,000 teachers to be going on strike.
MB: So when will you know if you're going to take the strike as a course of action?
UM: That depends on whether there has been remedies done on the discrepancies to the agreement, and whether there has been remedies done to make sure teachers are paid at their correct levels of salary.
MB: Are we talking a few weeks, or when do you want this resolved?
UM: I want to make this very clear. The Teaching Service Commission and the Association agreed that there has been very good progress on adjustments of correct salaries for teachers, there was noted progress on that. But we have noted that while the adjustments have been done, the payments for the teachers have not been done, as well as the payslips for teachers have not been produced to confirm whether the teachers have taken up correct salaries or not. We got a request from Teaching Service Commission to refuse the national action. The Association refused to entertain that request and will basically ignore that request. So our national threat will remain until all the discrepancies and all the teachers in Papua New Guinea are paid in according to the 2014-2016 Salary Fixation Agreement. If the state do not make the corrections, and we mean all the teachers in Papua New Guinea on the payroll must be paid correctly according to the award. If that is not done by the end of this month, we will resort to mobilising our membership throughout the country and we will set the date in August or September to go on strike.
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