Unionist denies being cause of strike problem

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 13th December 2011

A TRADE union leader representing 135 workers of the PNG Taiheiyo Cement who were sacked in October has rejected claims he is responsible for the problem.
Tom Vevo, the industrial advocate for the workers, claimed a delegate of the secretary of the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations had questioned his position in the industrial dispute and did not allow him to enter any further meetings or negotiations.
Vevo also rejected allegations against him that he incited the problem between the company and its national employees and that he was charging each worker K500.
“I urgently demand your clarifications and reasons as to why our involvement, as the third party in this very sensitive and serious matter, is not wanted,” he told the department.
The unionist asked why he was not questioned while  representing the workers in Port Moresby. He said the labour officers had a change of view when in Lae.
“This is a serious threat to the industrial peace and harmony by covering up the wickedness of foreign employers and expatriate management staff who are manipulating PNG laws and authorities.”
Vevo said legal advice he had received was that neither the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations, the firm management could stop them from being present in meetings as the appointed industrial representative of the aggrieved complainants.
He said he could only be stopped if there was a court order to that effect.