By GLENDA AWIKIAK
THE school year closes today, with some teachers heading off for Christmas with less money in their pockets because of a salary adjustment issue yet to be rectified.
The general secretary of the PNG Teachers’ Association, Ugwailubu Mowana, yesterday called on the Education Department and the Teaching Service Commission to fix the pay anomalies quickly so that the teachers could enjoy their Christmas break.
“More than a thousand teachers are being affected by the pay deductions, or being left out of the payroll, and other entitlements. The year is coming to an end and it is so sad for them,” he said.
“The number of teachers affected would be more as we are not been given the correct figure by the Education Department and the Teaching Service Commission.”
He said the best solution now was to “make a one-off payment to the teachers before the year ends and fix all these outstanding issues”.
“We cannot continue delaying and not meeting the teachers’ entitlements,” he said.
He warned that not resolving the pay issue now could affect the start of the 2019 academic year.
Mowana said the teachers demanded that:
- All salary deductions be refunded by Pay 21;
- salary fixation agreement be implemented in full by Pay 21;
- the audit of teaching positions against teacher numbers be carried out immediately to avoid a salary bill blowout in the budget;
- all teachers put off payroll be put back on, including the new graduates;
- an investigation be done on “fraudulent activity in relation to pay deductions from teachers’ salary” and disciplinary action be taken against those implicated; and,
- A review of the Alesco payroll system.
In response, Teaching Service Commission chairman Baran Sori said an investigation was being conducted, because of the huge pay deductions from teachers’ salaries, to find out who agreed to and signed the Pay Variation Authority form for the deductions.
He said the form was normally signed by the department’s Payroll Division authorising any deductions to be made salaries such as for loan repayments. “For those who claim not obtaining any loans and that
the deductions were made for
nothing, the Ministry of Education under the direction of Minister Nick Kuman started the investigation to find out where the problem is,” Sori said.
“We will reveal the investigation report and the actions to be taken once the investigation is completed and submitted to us.”