Planned strike illegal

National

By HELEN TARAWA
A PROPOSED stop-work by nurses throughout the country is illegal because there is no industrial dispute, Secretary for Personnel Management John Kali says.
He said that in response to the PNG Nurses Association’s threat to stop-work tomorrow and that all parties must continue to utilise all available avenues to resolve their dispute.
“There is no industrial dispute that exists between the employer and the employees, so any form of industrial action would be illegal,” Kali told The National yesterday.
“We must continue to use all available avenues under our laws, which encourage negotiations, conciliation and arbitration and no strike unless we exhaust all lawful avenues.”
Industrial Registrar Helen Saleu said since it was a matter of non-compliance, she has been advising the association to seek from national court an order of enforcement under section 57 of the Public Services and Arbitration Act 1969.
“I have refused to entertain their request for a secret ballot because firstly, secret ballot is not provided in the nurses’ association rules and constitution,” Saleu said.
“And secondly, the avenue available to them is to apply with the national court for an order of enforcement under section 57 of the Act.
The association had threatened to start a stop-work from tomorrow if the Government failed to implement the 2016-18 agreement.
The association claimed the Government had ignored the agreement it reached with the nurses on Dec 2 last year.
It said the agreement provided for increases in salaries and a work value study to be conducted on all nurses.
The association had written to the Department of Personnel Management and submitted a proposal to the Health Department to begin the work value study in January this year but that did not happen.
Kali said the deal was purely an administrative matter and that all avenues must be followed.
However, the association said it had followed the procedures and had written to the Industrial Registrar to hold a secret ballot but they had not received any response.

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