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Judge declares April 8 deadline to resolve dispute

By Harlyne Joku PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 4, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea, striking doctors agreed to return to duties last Friday after National Court Judge Cathy Davani ordered all related parties, including relevant State departments, to resolve their dispute within a specific timeframe.

Justice Davani ordered last Thursday that a timeframe be set for an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve the dispute by this Friday, April 8.

But there was also confusion among the doctors when they learnt that a bench warrant was also ordered by Judge Davani for the arrest of their union executives last Friday.

Most of Friday morning until late in the afternoon, the doctors and their union executives waited for police to make arrests but this did not take place to date.

Justice Davani in her decision handed down last Thursday ordered all doctors to return to duties while all disputing parties appear before her to endorse the agreed schedule, meaning the Memorandam of Understanding (MOU) by 3pm on April 11.

According to NDA president Dr. Kauve Pomat, the doctors are happy with the decision and have agreed to return to work.

Dr. Kauve assured the members on Friday that the union executives and concerned parties will work towards having the MOU shown before the court on April 8 and signed by April 11.

Five hundred members of the National Doctors Association (NDA) went on strike on March 25, claiming that their outstanding log of claims in a MOU signed with the Department of Personnel Management and Health Department related to an increase in salary and housing packages in January 2010 has not been agreed to by the State to date.

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