Air traffic controllers threaten to resign
By TERENI KENS
PAPUA NEW GUINEA Air Traffic Controllers' Association (PNGATCA) members unanimously agreed to walk off their jobs over disparities in the awarding of individual contracts which they deemed illegal.
They have given their employer and the management of the newly established state-owned enterprise, PNG Air Services Ltd (PNGASL) 48 hours notice to respond to list of demands or face mass resignation.
In a signed petition written to the acting managing director Tars Bola, the PNGATCA members throughout the country have expressed disgust and frustration at the manner in which the company opted to award individual contract packages.
The members are former Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) employees but have been transferred to PNGASL in 2008 under a new department restructure.
They noted that this is in direct conflict with CAA Act under section 334 clause on assets transfer. It stipulates that in assets transfer all working conditions and remunerations will remain until and when a new agreement is made.
They said what the management has done is not in the interest of the workers. There were no consultations and discussions made to effect the decisions. All was done in isolation.
The PNGATCA said the individual contracts that are being offered now are depriving, discriminating, disparity in nature and unfair.
The workers further claimed that PNGASL being the young offspring of CAA lacks sufficient data or none at all for its use. This has resulted in management making ill-informed decisions and having to use outdated CAA salary schedule to draft the contract employment offers which are recognized to be not competitive to the current and ongoing market rates.
The association has therefore in its list of demands called on the PNGASL to:
* Nullify all present and past individual contracts offered;
* Unions, employer (PNGASL) and other relevant parties to re-negotiate the contract packages as per the HR manual section 22 provisions;
* All positions (including management) to be advertised on the open market;
* Organisational structure plus the salary structure to be made available as soon as possible; and
* Immediately call for negotiations by Enterprise Bargaining for a more current Enterprise Agreement.
Failure to comply with these set of demands the association will result in the association applying certain provisions of the PNGASL HR manual which include mass resignation.
It is believed the move is likely to create havoc on air traffic and pose safety risk on all domestic and international flights including loss of business for all commercial airlines in the country.
It is also understood acting managing director Mr Bola has been delivered the copy of the petition which was signed by 90 disgruntled officers of the PNGATCA around the country.
Mr Bola could not be reached for comments at the time when this paper went to print but it is understood he verbally told the association executives that he will respond soon.
The association members planned for a meeting today to decide on the next cause of action.