By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE maritime workers have started secret ballot yesterday for industrial action for a 6% pay increase.
The secret ballot was conducted at the main wharf in Port Moresby yesterday.
It was witnessed by the PNG Electoral Commission and an officer from Labor and Industrial Relations to fulfill their obligations under Industrial Law.
More than 90% of the PNG Maritime and Transport Workers Union, totalling 523 in Port Moresby, cast their votes with counterparts in Madang.
The other major ports of Lae, Wewak and Rabaul will be casting their ballots today.
PNG Maritime and Transport Workers Union president John Mahuk said the perception by employer Steamships Shipping was that the strike was illegal and misleading.
“This is a legal process that is being conducted by the Electoral Commission and witnessed by an officer from the Labor and Industrial Relations,” Mr Mahuk said.
He said the industrial action was done for the benefit of the workers.
The results of the secret ballot conducted will be known by the end of the week.
Mr Mahuk said if they vote to go on strike, union workers would be on standby to move medicine, chlorine for water treatment, and other urgent supplier for humanitarian reasons.