PNG AIRLINE SACKS ENTIRE ENGINEERING STAFF, ADVERTISES POSITIONS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 6, 1999 – Radio Australia)--- Papua New Guinea's national airline, Air Niugini, fired its entire engineering staff of 96.

They were sacked early this week after engineers walked off the job in protest at the airline's failure to honor a court decision to pay them outstanding Consumer Price Index adjustments.

Air Niugini spokesman Andrew Ogil says the fired engineers will be given the opportunity to re-apply for their jobs, after the positions are advertised.

Ogil says that despite the absence of a full engineering staff, the airline's current operations were "quite satisfactory and meeting Civil Aviation requirements."

He also says the company will be sending aircraft overseas for maintenance.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERS WANT BAN ON AIR NIUGINI PLANES

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 6, 1999 - Post-Courier)---Aastralian aircraft engineers want Air Niugini planes barred from operating in Australia.

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has been called on to suspend the airline's operations to that country because of the firing of Air Niugini's 96 national engineers.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) Senior Industrial Officer Robert Domm yesterday asked CASA to hold an inquiry into Air Niugini's safety standards in the light of the firings.

The ALAEA has warned that "if the regulator (CASA) failed to act to protect the safety of passengers, then both ALAEA and the Transport Workers Union may advise their Qantas members not to work on Air Niugini aircraft on bonafide safety grounds."

Domm said they had received requests from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to provide all necessary support to the PNG aircraft engineers.

The Post-Courier called Domm in Australia last night and was told that CASA had not responded to the call. He expected CASA to respond soon and will pursue it with them.

While PNG's own union movement has remained silent over the national aircraft engineers' situation, international support for the group has been overwhelming.

The Post-Courier has copies of several letters of support and concern from various international groups sent to authorities in PNG.

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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