THE 4,000-member-strong PNG Maritime and Transport Workers Union conducted a secret ballot in Port Moresby on Saturday to decide whether to take lawful industrial action to press for a 6% wage increase.
Another ballot will be conducted on Wednesday and that all port workers elsewhere would be advised on the outcome.
The union’s national president John Mahuk told a media conference last Friday that Steamships Shipping handed the union a Draft Stevedoring Workers Agreement last Wednesday offering a meagre 1.5% wage increase effective Jan 1.
“They still refuse to implement the Union and Employers Federation Agreement for a 6% wage increase from Jan 1 last year.
“The Steamships Shipping are further demanding in their Draft Agreement that the award of ordinary weekly hours of work be increased from 37 hours a week to 40 hours a week without an additional three hours pay adjustment.
“This means hourly rates of pay and overtime have been cut. As if this is not enough, Steamships Shipping is demanding that the present award payment of double time overtime rates for Saturday work be paid at ordinary rates and that the present award of double time and a half for Sunday work also be paid at ordinary rates of pay for the first eight hours of work.”
Mr Mahuk said part-paid maternity leave for female workers was part and parcel of an overall settlement for a new stevedoring workers award reached between the union and the Employers Federation in July.
“However, this has been deliberately left out from the draft agreement,” he said.
Mr Mahluk described the draft agreement as “a savage attack on the stevedoring workers employment conditions since 1980”.
“The union, as a last resort, is left with no other alternative but to proceed with the secret ballot for lawful industrial actions to protect its members’ existing employment conditions.”