By BOSORINA ROBBY
DOCTORS are the latest group of workers to threaten to withdraw their services over their long outstanding salary upgrade and entitlements with the Health Department.
The powerful National Doctors Association’s (NDA) announcement comes a week after the 4,000-strong PNG Maritime and Seamen’s Union said it would be asking its members to strike over the non-implementation of two awards for the past 12 months.
NDA president Dr Kauve Pomat said that the Government had failed for two years to implement a review of their salaries and entitlements which was agreed to in 2007.
Dr Pomat said he has given the Health and Personnel Management departments a seven-day ultimatum – honour the agreement by Monday, or face mass resignations by national doctors.
He said that Personnel Management was stalling on the recommendations of the job evaluation study, which showed how much each specialist doctor should be paid. This in turn would pave way for a review of doctors’ salaries and entitlements and the signing of a new industrial award.
The umbrella PNG Trade Union Congress has thrown its support behind its two affiliates, according to PNGTUC general secretary John Paska.
Mr Paska said that the 2007 agreement allowed for negotiations to start on the recommendations from the study.
He said that the study had been completed and the Health Department had agreed to negotiate but the talks had stalled because Personnel Management was dragging its feet.
Dr Pomat said he was at a loss about what was causing the delay.
“Department of Personnel Management was there in the beginning and I saw no reason why they were stalling now.
“That is why we are considering mass resignations, to get the Government to honour the conditions set out in the agreement,” he said.
Dr Pomat said he understood that if DPM granted doctors improved pay and conditions, other public servants may want the same conditions across the board.
“Well, if that is the case, than so be it,” he said.
Dr Pomat said that after Jan 11, the NDA executives would be visiting its 470 members nationwide to explain the situation to them and get them to sign resignation forms.
“After all the forms are signed, we will present them to the Health Department with our 31-day resignation notice.”