By JIMMY KALEBE
WORKERS of Frabelle PNG Ltd in Lae staged a protest yesterday demanding a meaningful pay rise and benefits in their health and well-being.
The strike saw more than 2000 workers from all sections walking off their jobs. All operations at the fish-processing company were put on hold for the whole day.
Attempts to get information on what the protest cost in terms of business were unsuccessful.
The workers fronted up at the Frabelle gate demanding that the management come clear on some of the issues – including a pay rise which they said was long overdue.
An officer with the Labour and Industrial Department, when addressing the disgruntled workers, said the move by the workers was illegal and did not follow procedures.
However, he said the workers’ complaints were received and the department would respond to them quickly.
A company spokesperson, Matthew Som, while addressing the workers responded to the Labour officer saying their petition was not given to Labour office, rather it was given to the Frabelle management and demanded a response by yesterday.
He said he did not know why and how the Labour office had to stand in for the management to address the issue.
The main concerns were the increases in the cost of living and GST against pay increases of 1t and 2t annually. Frabelle Cannery general manager Melinder Radugos said with the standard K3.50 per hour rate, the government did not give any increase but Frabelle was able to give 1t or 2t pay increase over time.
Radugos said long-serving staff got an increase of 2t every year.
She told the workers that if those who wanted to work were facing problem with their salaries, then it was a problem.
By JIMMY KALEBE