PNG AIR TRAFFIC UNION CALLS FOR WORK STOPPAGE

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By Tande Temane

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 2, 1998 - Post Courier)--- All flights within PNG and abroad will be affected for two hours tomorrow as members of the Air Traffic Controllers Association meet nationwide to discuss an outstanding log of claims.

The planned stop-work meeting will be held in Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka, Mount Hagen, Wewak, Madang, and Rabaul from noon to 2:00 p.m.

Association President Peter Kamong warned yesterday that all air traffic control services will come to a stand-still for two hours while the members meet.

He has called on flight captains to seriously take heed of the warning. "The stop-work meeting will be for two hours," he said.

"All traffic control services, such as aircraft taxing for parking or take-off, approach control services for aircraft landing or take-off, flight information and alerting services for aircraft in flight, will not be available.

"In short, there will be no air traffic control services within these hours."

Mr. Kamong stated all relevant authorities, including the Industrial Registrar, the Public Service Reconciliation and Arbitration Tribunal, and the Department of Civil Aviation, have been notified of the stop-work.

The members of the association are claiming that the government has not paid their on-call and meal allowances, which have been outstanding since April 18, 1988, the operative date of the current agreement between the Civil Aviation Department and the union.

The existing agreement was signed in 1996 and employees will decide on whether to conduct a secret ballot for an industrial action against their employer. Mr. Kamong said flights departing and arriving up to noon and after 2:00 p.m. will not be affected, but Air Traffic Control services will be terminated right away between these times.

Mr. Kamong, however, said special consideration will be given to mercy flights and medical evacuations.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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