The National – Wednesday, September 28th 2011
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has given an assurance that there will be no single job loss in the proposed merger of Air Niugini and Airlines PNG.
O’Neill also clarified that the National Executive Council had not made a final decision on the proposed merger but gave an approval in principle to look at the possibilities of merging the two airlines.
He said the NEC decision was very clear.
“We will be looking at financial issues, job security and the ability to provide more services. The decision has not been made,” he said.
He assured the workers of both airlines that there would be no job losses.
O’Neill’s advice to unions is to look after the workers’ welfare and not take over the job of the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.
He said last week before leaving for New York to attend the United Nations general assembly that the details of the merger would be worked out by a special merger implementation office to be chaired by Public Enterprise Minister Sir Mekere Morauta.
The members will be the chief executives of Air Niugini, Airlines PNG and independent valuers.
“Both Air Niugini and Airlines PNG will be members of the implementation office as will the IPBC who will be assisted by technical experts including independent valuers to undertake a due diligence exercise to ascertain the exact value of assets and business of each airline,’’ he said.
Sir Mekere said afterwards no firm decision had been made by cabinet on the merger.
“The MIO will examine the technical and financial feasibility of a merged airline and once a report is done I will take the recommendations to government, and the chairman and Airlines PNG CEO will take it back to their shareholders,” Sir Mekere said.
He reminded unionist Michael Malabag that security of employment would be provided.
“The prime minister has given his assurance and if he wants me to put that assurance in writing I can do that.”
Sir Mekere said the unions were resistant to changes and they were doing the job of the ICCC.
He said the ICCC had a role to play and would have a say in the merger proposal.