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First increment set for February 25

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 31, 2008) – Nurses throughout the country will receive their long awaited salary increments through the salary reclassification early next year.

They resolved through their national office, the PNG Nurses Association (PNGNA) early this month that they would walk off their jobs starting this morning.

The salary increment will take effect on February 25.

The government departments including the national Department of Health, Department of Personnel Management and the Department of Treasury intervened with a positive response to their demand, restraining them from going on strike.

The increase would be a follow up of their work value study report, a classification of the nurses’ salary structure.

These were submitted to Health and Personnel Management but that was not done in 2000 when their award for a salary increase was agreed to.

This award will be implemented effective as of February 25.

This has come about after a long series of negotiations between the departments and the PNG Nurses Association.

The salary level will be higher than the current one and will be effective for all nurses in the public health sector, both members and non members of PNGNA.

"PNGNA would like the implementation to be effective between now and early January.

"Information received from the Government indicated that at this stage it was not possible for the salary increment till the end of February," PNGNA president Eimi Kaptigau said.

She said that the PNGNA had urged all the nurses in the country to continue providing services in the hospitals between now and February while waiting for their salary increase.

Ms Kaptigau said the PNGNA would continue with a good relationship with the Government and allow the implementation and review for the nurses award to proceed.

"Nurses throughout the country have been recognised as important and efforts are being made to have the reports fast tracked on time," she said.

Ms Kaptigau called on the nurses not to take any strike action as it might jeopardise PNGNA’s negotiations with the Government.

The Acting Health Secretary, Mark Mauludu assured the nurses association and its executives in a letter that the process and the associated timeline for consideration, determination and settlement of the payment of the awards for the nurses would unfold as of January 5 next year.

The timeline includes the first draft of submission for the salary condition monitoring committee on January 5.

It also includes award costing and funding verification on January 8, the final drafting of the submission to be made to the committee on

January 9, the SCMC meeting on January 12 and that the award implementation would begin on February 25.

"President, I reassure you of the commitment of NDoH and DPM with the support from the Treasury department to comply with the formal process," Mr. Mauludu said in his letter to the nurses association president.

He said this would be in a manner that "can bring this matter to a speedy and mutual conclusion".

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