PNG UTILITY STRIKE OVER, ELECTRICITY RESTORED

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 16) – The power supply was switched on again yesterday after the unions and the Government team worked out a compromise.

The power supply was switched off after workers walked off their jobs forcing many urban centres to go without power.

Many suburbs of Port Moresby were without power supply for almost two days since Tuesday.

The Government team led by the Chairman of the Independent Public Business Corporation Sumasy Singin agreed to negotiate with the unions to address the workers grievances.

Mr Singin allowed the union officials to brief them on the stand off between the PNG Power management and the union.

Mr Singin said the power workers grievances could have been solved between the management and the unions – PNG Trade Union Congress, PNG Energy Workers Association and Public Employees Association – and not allowed the situation to deteriorate.

As a way forward, both parties agreed to have the KPMG report that looked into management and operational issues at PNG Power Limited made available to the staff of PNG Power Ltd.

The report, the chairman of the PNG Power board has been stating, was the private property of the PNG Power Limited board and not a public document.

The report also allowed for the reinstatement of CEO, Patrick Mara, a primary focus of the stopwork by power workers.

Mr Singin said by tabling the report it will enable the employees to digest the findings of the report and make a more informed decision on Mr Mara’s reinstatement, and other related issues they are pursuing.

Mr Singin said they also discussed the need to look into the restraining orders imposed on union representatives.

"The PPL board will be asked to withdraw the court order and allow the union leaders to have access to their members to discuss and address these issues," Mr Singin said.

He said both parties also sought to ensure that PNG Power did not take any punitive action against any of the aggrieved employees, and that PNG Power would not impose any legal bills on the union that had resulted from this stopwork.

The union representatives said they would ask all members of the PNG Power Workers Union to return to work immediately and restore power while they awaited the outcome of the undertakings made by the government team yesterday morning.

Mr Malabag also claimed that the stopwork by the PNG Power employees was not a strike as reported in the media.

Other members of the government team included the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Dr Theo Yasause and Police Commissioner, Gary Baki.

Earlier during the meeting TUC president Michael Malabag said unions within PNG Power were prepared to negotiate with PPL workforce to immediately resume duties and restore power normalcy on the conditions that the Government promised that:

Mr Malabag said he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

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