PNG a difficult place for unions

National, Normal


PAPUA New Guinea is a difficult environment for the union movement to effectively operate in, political analyst Dr Orovu Sepoe said.
“Finding the balance and creating a state of unity out of the diversified environment we live in is the way forward,” she said.
“The challenge for the union is to create unity, out of this diversity, this fragmentation.”
She told a meeting of trade unions on good governance in Port Moresby yesterday that not only was the country culturally diverse, it had a growing youth population, a high rate of illiteracy, a widening gap of social structures and gender inequality and this had a major impact on implementation.
According to Dr Sepoe, “we’re in a state of flux”, as a consequence of external and internal influences.
“We’re trying to co-exist,” and that was the challenge, she said.
Dr Sepoe also told the workshop of more than 15 union member organisations that educating or trying to manage communities or people that did not know their rights was quite difficult.
“Are we, as educated Papua New Guinea, conscious of our rights? Are the simple majority conscious of their rights? That’s a big challenge for us.
“If a law is passed by the Government, do we understand how decisions were made, the processes involved in reaching those decisions?”
She said it also was a bigger challenge when the poor and the marginalised were not empowered from poverty of information of their rights as citizens, when they did not have a voice and could not exercise their rights.
“And it was this and numerous other issues that made the work of unions in the country difficult,” she said.