By SHARLYNE ERI
Health services nationwide will be affected if a three-week strike, supported unanimously by provinces, goes ahead by the Heath Support Workers’ Association (HSWA) later this month.
The date of the strike will be decided in a meeting today by the association’s executive committee and they have given the relative authorities and the Government until Friday to respond to a log of claims.
The proposed action was supported 1868 votes to 11 and the association decided that the current under-20 women soccer World Cup would not stand in its way.
Association general secretary Jack Suao said the Government and relevant individuals had until Friday to respond to a log of claims presented to the Department of Personnel Management last year.
The strike was declared legal by appointed returning officer Terence Hetinu and was witnessed by the executives of the association and representatives from the Southern region, Electoral Commission and the Industrial Registrar’s Office at Boroko in Port Moresby yesterday.
“We have a big event currently happening in the country and we are not stepping back, it can be jeopardized,” Suao said.
“I am calling on the other medical clinics to step down because we are closing down the pharmacies and pay system for the workers at the hospital as well as the internet services and workers at the morgue – all these services will be stopped.”
Suao said that besides clinical personnel, who would be affected by their pay, those acutely affected would be the patient who would be served by doctors and nurses.
He said health workers played a major role in health service delivery of the country but never had their terms and conditions improved over the last 40 years.
Only six of 20 provinces could not participate in the election due to logistical handicaps.
Provinces that took part are:
- National Capital District with 541 votes for and 2 against;
- Morobe 215 for and 0 against;
- Eastern Highlands 139 for and 0 against;
- Western Highlands 136 for and 0 against;
- East New Britain 113 for and 2 against;
- West New Britain 103 for and 1 against;
- East Sepik 99 for and 1 against;
- New Ireland 98 for and 0 against;
- Chimbu 95 for and 0 against;
- Autonomous Region of Bougainville 87 for and 0 against;
- Madang with 79 for and 4 against;
- Northern with 74 for and 1 against;
- Milne Bay 62 for and 0 against; and,
- Manus with 27 for and 0 against.