By DORISH KAMBA
THE industrial dispute between the PNG Banks and Financial Institution Workers Union and Bank South Pacific (BSP) has escalated to a near strike.
The dispute is over industrial award negotiations and outstanding MoU matters, especially the housing scheme issue.
The union presented a revised log of claims to BSP last week demanding:
* A 100% increase in existing allowance for grades three up to management staff to match market rates;
* K220 housing allowance without preconditions for grades one and two bank officers;
* All matters in the MoU of Nov 27, 2007, to be resolved; and
* All outstanding matters, including non-payment of shift allowance as per industrial agreements of 2004 and 2007, to be recalculated and back paid.
The union and BSP had, on Nov 27, 2007, signed a consolidated industrial agreement and MoU containing nine matters, including a housing scheme that had never been resolved.
The consented award had two years duration and the MoU was supposed to have been resolved within three months. The industrial agreement has not been reviewed to the satisfaction of the union and therefore not signed.
The union submitted a petition for the home ownership scheme to be attended to forthwith:
* For BSP management to make a commitment to the establishment of a housing committee to provide independent and professional review and recommendation that is satisfactory to the union members and the bank;
* The committee must review the current rate paid by the bank as opposed to the going market rates and recommend a bench mark rate which the bank must adopt; and
* The committee must, in consideration of a large number of bank employees who are in desperate need of housing, review and recommend the most appropriate and conclusive action.
Union general secretary Vera Raga said: “BSP is given two weeks from the date of this letter to resolve the log of claims and petition submitted.
“Failure to do so will give the union no option, but to seek the approval of the industrial registrar to conduct a secret ballot to take industrial action.
“The union, as a responsible union, will do everything possible in the event of an industrial action by its members to ensure the public, particularly BSP customers, are not severely affected.”