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Commissioner says no national strike occurred

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 18, 2008) - Everything at Bomana is back to normal and there is no strike throughout the country, Correctional Service Commissioner Richard Sikani said yesterday.

Mr. Sikani said CS officers were the second highest paid people in the country after the police therefore they did not need to cry over their own stupidity -- borrowing money from financial institutions and ending up with very little pay.

Sikani also said there were 11 employees at Bomana who had instigated the stand-off because they had not turned up for work when rostered therefore they had ended up being disciplined.

"Everything is back to normal. There is no strike throughout the country, it’s only at Bomana and they are disgruntled renegades, those who have undergone discipline and want to retaliate against that," he said.

"There are only 11 of them that are doing that and they are the ones that we have disciplined for not turning up to work and because they have been disciplined, they are seeking support for what is happening now.

"I tell you, CS employees are the second highest paid people in the country. They get free housing, free water, transport free for their school children for school drop off and pick up, security allowance, shift allowance, service allowance -- what else do they want? They get PGK500 to PGK700 [US$193 to US$271] a fortnight, (yes, the recruits get more than PGK300 [US$116]) and yet they are crying for more."

The police on the other hand said the Boroko cell was now overcrowding because they could not get these remandees into Bomana jail. This resulted in 14 of them escaping from the Boroko cells over the weekend.

Meanwhile, from the workforce at Bomana, they still maintained that services were withdrawn until further notice from management.

"The situation is still the same. Confirmation has come from Vanimo, Popondetta, Goroka and Boram for the scale down of services and joining hands with us, the Bomana counterparts," officers at the Bomana jail gate said yesterday.

The workforce claim there has never been any management or for that matter Mr. Sikani coming over to Bomana to address them professionally.

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