Unions: Budget deals with ‘bread and butter’ issues

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 08th December 2011

THE Papua New Guinea Trade Union Congress welcomes the 2012 budget saying it is truly for the people and addresses issues close to their hearts.
PNGTUC president Michael Malabag said the Budget looked good on paper but implementing and monitoring it was a concern to the unions.
Malabag, accompanied by union executives from the Police Union, Maritime Workers Union and Communication Workers Union said the Budget addressed a lot of “bread and butter” issues for small people.
“It is a people’s budget as it addresses things that are close to their hearts, in things that matter to them in their day to day lives like basic food items, their take-home pay and the education of their young ones,” he said.
“For the workers it is a relief increasing the personal income tax-free threshold from K7,000 to K10,000.”
Malabag, also president of the Public Employees Association, said it would mean that workers who used to earn K269 a fortnight or less could receive up to K385 a fortnight.
“This will be a relief to the bulk of our workers.
“In turn, I encourage workers to give their best to their employers,”  he added.
Malabag said the tax relief on basic commodities such as meat, flour, pasta and others will benefit the people.
“For the workers, with a higher take-home pay, they can now afford to stretch their fortnightly budget with the lower cost of basic food items,” he said.
He also welcomed free education because union members used to struggle with school fees.
“It is welcome news for the members of PEA and the population at large,” he said.
“Pocket allowance for tertiary students is also welcome, so that students can meet their daily needs, away from parents.”
He also praised the government for reducing tax on redundancy benefits which he said had always been a thorn on the union side.
“All in all, it is a good budget, the minister for finance and treasury rightly called it a people’s budget, it addresses all sectors fairly.
Meanwhile, Malabag urged workers to leave politics to politicians and not take sides in light of the pending Supreme Court decision to be handed down tomorrow.