NURSES will continue their sit-in protest – which started on Monday – despite the Government’s assurance that issues relating to their industrial awards 2021-2023 will be resolved.
PNG Nurses Association (PNGNA) vice-president Esther Pisoro said they had learnt from past cases when, while such assurances from the Government were given, nothing was done.
“We have been working with the Health Department and Department of Personnel Management in negotiating and signing the agreement and we acknowledge what they have done,” she said.
“So when will the Finance Department configure the awards, Treasury to release the funds and the awards be implemented?
“That’s what we want to know.
“We have stressed time and time again that nurses are serving in the frontline of this Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“We have been working for 11 months without the life and medical insurance cover.
“Some (nurses) have passed on while an increasing number have contracted the Covid-19.”
She added that a 14-day notice had been served on the chief executive officers of the hospitals and provincial health authorities about the sit-in protest.
“Due processes have been followed and the Trade Union Congress and Industrial Registrar should not be silent about this,” she said.
Health secretary Dr Osborne Liko said only nurses taking their days-off were taking part in the protest while those rostered to work were at their stations.
“Nurses have been given special consideration among public servants, even at the most difficult economic (times),” he said.
“Most of the (health authority chief executive officers) justify that most of the awards for the nurses (have been) paid by their PHAs.”
Dr Liko gave as an example nurses at the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH). “The PMGH has already paid six of the eight allowances,” he said.
“The remaining (allowances) will definitely be paid in January 2022.”
Dr Liko advised PNGNA secretary Gibson Siune to tell all staff to be at work or go back after their day off. “I will meet (Siune) tomorrow (today) to strategise a way forward to ensure the Finance Department expedite configuration and payment come January 2022 of the remaining (awards),” he said.
The National / PNG Health News