City Firefighters Walk Off from Duties

by Jack Lapauve Jr – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Firemen and women in the nation’s capital have stood down from duty as of 10am this morning.

They confronted the Fire Service Headquarters at Boroko, demanding an explanation of outstanding salary paymen’s, and called for a commission of inquiry into the department.

Dissatisfied fire officers in Port Moresby fronted the Fire Service Headquarters this morning to return car keys to fire trucks and walk-off their duties.

National Fire Service Association President, Gena Gewa, said the management has serious problems and must be solved.

“We call on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the management of the Fire Service,” Gewa said.

The NFFA Presidents says, the government must now step-in and uproot the alleged corruption crippling the department’s financial section, which has affected their salaries, and their incapability in performing their work.

Most officers told EM TV News, the Fire Service adopted the ALESCO system in 2012, but the management had made few changes including the deduction of 80 hours from their normal pay.

This move has also concerned families of the fire service employees.

A wife of a fireman says, for the next two weeks families will be affected.

Meanwhile, Chief Fire Service Officer, Isaac Silas, says the salary queries were detected but the ALESCO payroll system did not accept the changes.

Silas assured firemen and women that this will be sorted out and called on them to return to work.

He added that the Government has made a commitment to review the Fire Service and it is the perogative of the Minister to announce the Government decision regarding this.

The Chief Fire Officer added that all matters will be discussed in a roundtable meeting with the Fire Service Association.

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