PNG Power Employees Sick Of ‘Political Interference’

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Disgruntled staff call for reinstatement of sacked CEO

By Jacob Pok

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 15, 2016) – The main gates to the PNG Power Ltd head office at Hohola in Port Moresby were locked early yesterday by aggrieved workers who claimed they were fed up with "political interference" in the operation of the electricity service provider.

Most staff members who turned up for work were forced to wait outside the gates while security guards were manning the main gates.

Placards and banners were placed around the main gates and fence of the office with messages that called for recently appointed executive director John Mangos not to enter the PPL office, and for the Government to disband the current board and reinstate sacked PPL chief executive officer John Tangit and board chairman Larry Andagali.

Most staff members did not physically protest or expressed their grievances but peacefully expressed their concerns through the banner and placards that were hung at the gates and fence of the office.

[PIR editor’s note: On March 16, 2016 PNG Post-Courier reported that ‘The Papua New Guinea Trade Union Congress has called on workers of PNG Power Limited to remain calm and allow due process to take its course. ... PNGTUC general secretary John Paska, who is a director on the PPL board, made the call yesterday on the top management to exercise diligence, professional tact and leadership to prevail.’]

They later agreed to resume work shortly after they were addressed by some of the senior executives, including the acting chief executive officer John Yanis.

Mr Yanis told the staff that Mr Tangit was suspended on Monday after he (Tangit) was served with the findings of the allegations against him and was given 14 days to respond to the allegations.

He said he was appointed to act in the meantime and that it was only proper that operations of PPL continue while issues are best left to the executive team to decide.

"We don’t have to make the customers go against us. If the customers go against us, we will have a big problem and we don’t want that to happen," Mr Yanis told the staff.

He also assured them that the management would also take some of their grievances with the executive management team and address them appropriately.

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