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Welcome to Sunday Chronicle blogspot. Sunday Chronicle is a leading weekly newspaper in Papua New Guinea. It is a community oriented paper and highlights positive issues and developments of the week. We hope this medium of communication can keep you abreast of the happenings and events in the country and abroad.

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This week's local news - July 18 - 21, 2013.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Strike looming


THE PNG Maritime and
Transport Workers Union has
ordered one of Papua New
Guinea’s largest private sector
employers and trading companies -
Steamships Trading Co. Ltd - to
pack up and move immediately for
dishonouring a six per cent wage
increase for stevedoring and other
maritime workers.
The union boss John Mahuk said
on Friday in a press conference that
he is prepared to take his members to
stage an indefinite industrial strike
action in all major ports in the country
next week.
He explained that this will leave a
lot of businesses struggling to make
ends meet and have adverse effects
on the consumers and the public at
large if the company turns a blind eye
to many of the demands set forthwith
by the union.
“These are the workers that are
working night and day to ensure that
there is a car on the road, there is fuel
in the tanks, bread on the table, tinned
fish on the shelves, flour in the canteen.
Without realizing the importance
of the maritime workers contribution
to the country... all we asking
is six per cent from Steamships and
its subsidiary companies to come
good to workers of the Maritime
“So if things don’t come good I’m
prepared to go out and call on the
members for an industrial strike
action. Otherwise at the current stand,
the strike is imminent and is definitely
going to happen.”
Mr Mahuk added that a vote for a
secret ballot for lawful industrial
action is the last resort which will be
conducted in Port Moresby on
Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Other ports in the country such as Lae
are yet to confirm their participation.
This paper understands an agreement
in good faith has been reached
in July 2009 between the Union and
the Employers Federation in which
among other demands have called for
improved wages and employment
conditions for both stevedoring and
other maritime workers for a six percent
wage increase backdated to
January 1st 2009. The union as part
of the overall settlement agreed to
withdraw all other disputed claims.
However, in the latest development
on the waterfront dispute, the
Port Moresby Stock Exchange
(PoMSOX) listed Steamships shipping
handed the union a draft stevedoring
workers agreement last
Wednesday that represents a vicious
attack on the workers present award
wage rates and conditions of
employment.In this “Draft Agreement”
Steamships Shipping, on behalf of
the stevedoring employers has
offered a 1.5 per cent wage increase
as from the 1st of January, 2009
despite the union and the
Employers Federation Agreement
for a six per cent wage increase
from 1st January, 2009.
In a prepared press statement Mr
Mahuk revealed that Steamships are
further demanding in their “draft
agreement” that the award ordinary
weekly hours of work be increased
from 37 hours a week to 40 hours a
week without an additional three (3)
hours pay adjustment.
The union boss noted that a direct
result of an increase in the weekly
ordinary hours work to 40 hours
would mean a significant cut in
workers hourly rates of pay and
overtime rates of pay.
He also stated that Steamships
Shipping is also demanding that the
present award payment of double
time overtime rates for Saturday
work be paid at ordinary time and
that the present award double time
and a half for Sunday work also
paid at ordinary time rates of pay
for the first eight (8) hours of work.
Furthermore, the union revealed
that part-paid maternity leave for
female workers employed within
the stevedoring industry, was part
and parcel of an overall settlement
for a new stevedoring workers
award reached between the union
and the Employers Federation in
July, 2009 however the agreed partpaid
maternity leave provision has
been deliberately left out from
Steamships Shipping “draft agreement.”
John Paska, the country’s Trade
Union Congress Secretary General
aired similar sentiments saying the
company has a responsibility and
must not waver from it.
“The company should not runaway
from its responsibility in
terms of looking after the waterfront
while, day, night, rain come
wind and thunder. This is a slap in
the face of the workers and it is also
a draw back in the many of the
cases we have fought so hard here
in Papua New Guinea.
“I think the Maritime Workers
Union has all the right to ask for the
percentage they want to get and we
will standby whatever actions they
wish to take. We call on the
Steamships management must learn
from this new approach. We condemn
this and we call on the Labour
and Industrial relations to look into
this issue for a fruitful negotiation
to take place.
‘We call on them to ensure that
employers fall into line to uphold
establish practices. We must make
sure that we do not rewind to practices
of yesterday. The master and
slave relationship is long gone we
are in the new era and embrace the
future as it comes.
“Such employers must pack up
and leave immediately and go and
apply draconian measures in other
countries if they want to abuse
workers rights and so forth.
Whoever, the managing director
and whoever they are, we have no
place for them. We can’t tolerate
any rewinding of the hard force
they do. The managing director
must face the full responsibility and
realign himself to meet the demands
of his employees. Share holders
must convene an immediate meeting
and move, it’s not welcomed.”
Headquartered in London, John
Swire & Sons Ltd is Swire’s parent
company, maintaining close links
with a family of constituent companies
around the world. John Swire
& Sons is responsible for formulating
overall policy, as well as providing
a wide range of management
services and centralised support
functions for Swire.
John Swire & Sons’ Hong Kongbased
quoted subsidiary, Swire
Pacific, has business activities that
concentrate on the Asia Pacific
region, and specifically on
Mainland China and the Special
Administrative Region (SAR) of
Hong Kong.

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