Nurses to stage protest


NURSES throughout Papua New Guinea will stage a sit-in protest at their respective health facilities on Aug 1 if their awards from 2016 are not approved, according to the PNG Nurses Association.
Four regional representatives met with the PNGNA office in Port Moresby on Wednesday and called on the government through the Department of Personnel Management (DPM) to respond to their log of claims within a week as nurses could not continue to work in the frontline without being properly compensated.
PNGNA president Frederick Kebai said the awards were reviewed and submitted in 2018 but had been sitting at the DPM for too long despite being approved and endorsed by the Health Department.
Kebai said the award would expire next year and PNGNA had exhausted all the means of negotiations with DPM on behalf of its more than 4,000 members hence the call.
“We are only giving DPM a week to respond to our log of claims so that we can respond and sign the memorandum of agreement,” he said.
“Failure by the DPM to do that means we will withdraw labour come Aug 1.”
PNGNA general secretary Gibson Siune said the PNG Nurses Award was not something new as since its introduction in 2011 it was already implemented and it covered all the nurses, recognising their roles and determined the minimum allowance for risk, shift work, overtime, potential risk and insurance. He said in the current Covid-19 pandemic nurses were at the frontline playing a crucial role and even continued working while other workforce were on break as happened during the lockdown.
“The award covers all the necessary allowances,” he said.
“It has cost us time, money and resources to follow up on the submission since 2018 and with Covid-19 we would like it to come into effect.
“DPM has been ignorant.
“They should not use Covid-19 as an excuse either.”