PAPUA NEW GUINEA AIRLINE UNION ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO GOVERNMENT

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By John Dau

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 24, 2000 – The National)---The National Airlines Employees Association has called on the government to remove those responsible for the current turmoil in the management of Air Niugini or face possible industrial action.

At a lunch-hour meeting in Port Moresby yesterday, NAEA President Paul Balamus, the NAEA members and union officials representing aircraft engineers, flight attendants and national pilots, pushed for the sacking of the airline board and a stop order on Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu from carrying out a probe into the financial mismanagement of the airline.

The union demands that:

"We want the board and those responsible to face full investigations," Mr. Balamus said.

He said under the Companies Act that board chairman Michael Bromley had no right to interfere in the company's affairs.

Mr. Balamus said the purchase of shares in Singaporean Airline Company, which cost K 15 million (US$ 6.18 million), was never approved by the management.

He maintained that Deloitte must be replaced by a neutral firm, as its engagement would be biased. It was the company's financial advisor until recently.

"The company belongs to the people and not the Government or anybody else," he said.

He said the NAEA, made up of 700 members, would opt for industrial action if the Government does not react favorably to their list of demands.

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

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