Lecutures At PNG School Of Medicine Walk Out Over Unpaid Salaries

Students support suspension of classes; $1.7 million owed lecturers

By Charles Moi

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 25, 2017) – Classes at the University PNG School of Medicine and Health Sciences have been suspended after lecturers stopped work in protest over outstanding salaries.

Medical students at the school’s Taurama campus are also supporting them.

Head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the school Professor Glen Mola told medical students at the Taurama campus that the stop-work was necessary to make the Government respond to their outstanding salaries totalling about K5.6 million [US$1.7 million].

Mola said they were discussing with the National Doctors Association about calling a nationwide strike if the Government did not resolve the matter in a week.

“We have this ridiculous situation where our students get more than we do the day we sign off from their training because the university has not applied the NDA awards to doctors working at the university,” Mola told the students.

“We have put up with this unfair illegal situation for three years.

“How are you going to get them to be your teachers if you pay them less than their students?

“It’s not just for our bank balances.

“To attract the best doctors to be teachers at the School of Medical and Health Sciences, you need the salaries to be attractive.”

Mola said the latest National Doctors Association award which began in Jan 1, 2014, covered doctors working in hospitals and those working as academics at UPNG.

“In the award which is a legal document that the government has signed and gazetted, it’s a legal document that binds the employer to pay a certain salary package,” Mola said

“The University Council in 2015 agreed to pay the doctors working for medical school according to the legal binding award.

“But they didn’t do it. They put it in the budget for the next year (2016) for the Government to give their allocation of money to pay us but the Government cut the budget.”

Mola told the students that the Government had failed in its commitment to pay their agreed salaries.

The 30 affected doctors have not been paid according to the NDA awards negotiated with the Government in 2013.

The National
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