Labour drift a worry: Scovell

National, Normal


THE PNG Manufacturers Council (PNGMC) is concerned about the migration of labour from the public and private service to the PNG LNG project as many industries cannot match the wages that are likely to be on offer, president Chey Scovell said.
Mr Scovell said many industries were concerned about the movement of labour to the LNG project.
He said the manufacturing sector did not have the capacity to match the wages being offered, even though the work engagements might be only short term.
“Unless the LNG overseers take care in their selection processes, many workers will leave their secure jobs for some quick money,” he said.
Mr Scovell was also concerned that if the local industry was forced to compete with the PNG LNG project for workers,  PNG could expect massive increases in the price of local goods and services.
He said while the PNGMC had not been advised of the existence of plans or any intentions to screen the selection of workers to minimise the impact of such a large shift in the local workforce, there were plenty of options available to mitigate this potential problem. 
“LNG partners have the resources to train thousands of people, with sound planning a large portion of their potential employment which  could recruit school leavers and those with little to no work experience,” he said.
Mr Scovell also said PNG was fortunate that for the most part, the Government had in place effective mechanisms to allow employers to employee people both local and foreign but what was lacking was the consistent and transparent application of the processes.
The National Government understands that attention was being given by the developer ExxonMobil to train and provide direct employment opportunities to the landowners in the project areas.
ExxonMobil had informed that the PNG LNG project would work to fill positions wherever practical with PNG citizens.
“We will build up this workforce through large-scale training programmes,” ExxonMobilspokesman Stuart Symons said.