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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 12) - The Labour and Industrial Relations Department has made a submission to the National Executive Council for a review of the minimum wages for employees in Papua New Guinea.

Secretary David Tibu said the present minimum wages set at PGK74.20 [US$25] [per fortnight]for under skilled and semi-skilled workers was not adequate to support a family for two weeks.

[PIR editor’s note: Based on a 40-hour work week, Papua New Guinea’s current minimum wage of 74.20 kina every two weeks translates to 92 PNG cents per hour - about 32 US cents per hour. ]

He said some companies were paying their employees just above the minimum wage to ensure their wages were legal but this was still not enough.

Mr. Tibu said the NEC submission was an outstanding matter because the NEC rose for the elections and the new government would now look at it. He said the submission, if approved, would see the selection of members of the new minimum wage board and its establishment. The submission would also include a detailed budget for the board to travel throughout the country to get views on the review of the present minimum wage.

Tibu said many Papua New Guineans were affected by the present minimum wage. He said while some people were represented through unions, many more did not belong to any organization and they were the ones affected. Many of these people were grassroots working for companies, some under poor conditions and many more underpaid by these companies. He said these were people who did not have a voice and the government should represent them.

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