Air Niugini pilots who went on strike have been sacked

10:35 am on 22 September 2016

Papua New Guinea's national airline has sacked eight pilots who took part in a strike as protest against the prime minister in July.

Air Niugini chief executive officer Simon Foo has confirmed that the eight were sacked as "disciplinary measures" by the company.

In mid-July the pilots called in sick over a week.

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Photo: Koro Vaka'uta / RNZ

It was part of a general withdrawal of services by various professional groups across PNG, also including maritime workers, health and energy sector workers.

The professionals were protesting in their demand that prime minister Peter O'Neill step aside to face fraud allegations.

Their action came ahead of a parliamentary motion of no-confidence against the prime minister, which he subsequently defeated.

The strike by pilots caused significant disruptions to transport links in a country dependent on air travel

Mr Foo told local media that Air Niugini's customers were greatly affected and the airline's reputation was consequently severely tarnished.

The withdrawal of services by the professional groups came in support of thousands of university students who boycotted classes across PNG's main tertiary institutions for over two months in protest against Mr O'Neill.

The academic year at the universities has only this month resumed at the universities.

However at the University of PNG in Port Moresby, a number of leaders of the student representative council who led the class boycott actions have been permanently excluded from studies at the institution.

It's understood they are considering legal options.

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