EHP teachers form group

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MORE than 4,000 teachers in Eastern Highlands have formed their own body to pursue their grievances over salaries and welfare.
The Eastern Highlands Teachers Welfare Club will operate as a non-go­vernmental organisation to back up the PNG Teachers Association.
Interim president He­riso Gahakave said the association would soon be registered with the Investment Promotion Authority and Industrial Registrar.
“The organisation will fight for teachers’ rights and welfare, it will support and add more teeth to the existing PNGTA which is the industrial body,” Gahakave said.
They said the PNGTA had not done enough to fight for their rights as they suffered in silence for many years.
All PNGTA members have K4 deducted fortnightly from their salary to fund the association.
He told more than 500 teachers who gathered at Peace Park, Goroka, last Friday that the new body would not promote strike actions over outstanding issues but would make every attempt to follow due procedures to get them addressed accordingly.
“The salary teachers receive cannot sustain them and their families for two weeks as the cost of living is increasing,” he said.
The teachers in the new group are from elementary, community, primary, secondary, vocational and technical schools in the eight districts of Eastern Highlands.
Representatives from each district make up an interim executive committee headed by Gahakave.
Each teacher contri­butes K1 each towards the organisation to spearhead the move to formally establish the entity.
Last Friday’s meeting was the second, with a third meeting set for June 3.
PNGTA branch in Eastern Highlands could not be reached for comments over weekend.