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$29 per fortnight goes to $78 at end of January

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, December 31, 2008) – The passage of the Minimum Wages Board determination on Jan 31 will be a milestone for Papua New Guinea after 16 years of living in poverty, PNG Trade Union Congress (PNGTUC) and Public Employees Association president Michael Malabag said yesterday.

He said replacing the current PGK74.40 [US$28.96] a fortnight minimum wage with the proposed PGK201.60 [US$78.49] would signal a victory for the workers.

A memorandum of agreement on the matter between the Government, PNG Employers Federation and PNGTUC is scheduled for deliberation next month.

"After 16 years, workers deserve better and the proposed increase would be a real bonus to many Papua New Guineans who had worked tirelessly at the expense of cunning employers," Mr Malabag said.

He said the board’s decision would also restore justice, dignity and respect for ordinary workers.

Commenting on the hearing, Mr Malabag said there had to be a balance and he was confident that the Jan 31 meeting would consider all aspects.

He was also pleased that the hearing had allowed the Government, employers and the workers a chance to present their cases with fair debate and working towards a positive outcome.

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