Unions threaten to stop work

Normal, Sports

The National, Friday 16th December 2011

TRADE union members have threatened to shut down out public services if the current political impasse is not resolved.
The Trade Union Congress plans to give a 48-hour ultimatum to the factions led by Sir Michael Somare and Peter O’Neill as soon as it collects resolutions from its 31 affiliate members today.
Congress president Michael Malabag has urged both factions to urgently resolve the problem to avoid a shutdown of services.
“The 48 hour ultimatum will be effective after resolutions from our 31 affiliate members are collected and if we see that the situation escalates then we move,’’ he said.
“There are deep concerns – our workers are suffering and businesses are already affected. We cannot risk our workers with the uncertainty of the political climate.
“The public servants are leaderless. Who are the public servants reporting to? There is no political direction and leadership in place. That is why we are calling on both camps to solve this urgently in an amicable manner for the sake of the people.”
He said the unions were worried about the security and welfare of their workers.
“Unions are social partners. We remain neutral because we are for the people. As unions, we are concerned about the safety of public servants. If nothing eventuates soon, we will act accordingly.
“And if we do, there will be a definite stop work and all essential services will be affected in this peak period during Christmas and New Year.
“Shipping services, airline services, water, electricity, communications, banking services and all other related services will be shut down.
“It’s not about Somare and O’Neill, this is about the people. When you take sides and try to please political parties, that’s where corruption comes in. Politicians cannot continue to play their antics, they do not own the state institutions, the people do and the people can take them back,” Malabag said.
He said currently, the political system was destroying the fabrics of this beautiful country.
TUC general secretary John Paska echoed Malabag’s concerns.
“We have had a meeting with all our members and we are ready to act if the current situation with both factions do not come up with an agreement soon.
“Somare and O’Neill must talk now, do not hold our people at ransom. We do not believe in protests that ignite trouble, but if anything happens you two will be held accountable,” Paska said