By HELEN TARAWA
PNG Power Limited (PPL) workers are on a nationwide sit-in protest over outstanding grievances including the removal of overtime pay.
The workers gathered at the PPL headquarters on Tuesday and blocked off the two main gates demanding that the board and management address them.
PNG Energy Workers Association general secretary Santee Margis told The National that this was an ongoing issue that needed to be settled now.
“This sit-in protest started since last Wednesday and those issues have been still outstanding,” Margis said. “Management tells us that these issues were being addressed by the board and the board says otherwise, which means they have been circulating these issues back and forth without addressing them so the workers around the country have decided to take this action.”
Among the list of outstanding issues raised are the staff home ownership scheme, a 17.7 per cent pay rise per the memorandum of agreement executed in 2013, the 2010 structural alignment programme payrise, the grade 1410 salary upgrading to be paid in April 2017 and the reinstatement of overtime pay.
Acting chief executive officer Alex Oa said that the board had responded to all the grievances last week and the continued protest was illegal.
Oa had invited the union executives to meet with the board and management, however, Margis said numerous meetings were held but nothing was forthcoming.
Magis said following the public notice issued by Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari about streamlining or rationalising of all state-owned entities the workers were concerned about their outstanding issues.
The workers have learnt from similar experiences by staff from Telikom PNG and want their outstanding grievances settled.
“They have decided that they cannot sit back and wait for the worst to come. This board had sat more than 20 times and they have been addressing these issues. We met in April and they told us that they were going to look into it so we are here and we will continue,” he said.
By HELEN TARAWA