The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
By YVONNE HAIP
Teachers in Southern Highlands, who recently refused to sign their resumption of duty summary sheets, have reportedly signed them last week.
The teachers had reportedly stormed the education office at Agiru Centre in Mendi and had changed the padlocks to the door after receiving no response from relevant authorities regarding their call for hardship allowances, general pay increase and housing allowances.
They also threatened to walk off their jobs if the provincial government, education department, and national government, failed to respond within 14 days.
The teachers also wanted an additional K400 mining allowance from the provincial government on top of their salaries and had demanded this ever since Kutubu oil was first exported 17 years ago.
Successive governments had reportedly promised to pay them but that never eventuated.
A senior officer from the education office said teachers had been warned that they would be dealt with if they failed to resume classes, and most had already filled in their forms and were set to start school today.
The officer said the action taken by the teachers was an industrial issue and could not be dealt with by the provincial education division, whose aim was to make sure that students were educated.
The officer said the provincial education department could not talk about issues that it could not solve,
and wanted all teachers to resume classes today.
The officer said there were other avenues the teachers could take to raise their concerns, such as raising them with PNG Teachers Association and use all the existing bodies, as it was an industrial issue.