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May 9, 2021
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Health and Personnel Management Heads Condemn Doctors’ Strike

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Health Secretary, Pascoe Kase, and Personnel Management Secretary, John Kali, held a joint news conference this afternoon condemning the actions of the National Doctors Association.

Some doctors have already proceeded with their strike action, following demands made to the government.

The health authorities have appealed to the doctors to return to work.

The Health Secretary said he had met with the Chief Medical Officers, who are also the specialist doctors, and warned them that it was illegal to stop work and demand the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Kase said that industrial disputes must be conducted according to relevant rules and the health sector awards, and health unions such as the National Doctors Association should not mix politics with staff welfare.

He warned medical officers that they will face disciplinary action if they do not return to work, as it will also breach their contracts of employment.

Last Friday, the National Doctors Association (NDA) presented their petition demanding the Prime Minister to step aside, and for the government to implement the NDA awards in the medical faculty.

Kali said he will be taking the matter of the awards up to UPNG Vice Chancellor, in order to secure funding.

He said in regard to the political issue raised in the petition, he would not comment on it, as the national parliament would decide on the Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister this Friday.

Meanwhile, the NDA has stood firm that their members are exercising their democratic and constitutional rights to freedom of speech, assembly and movement.

But, they also said that they will not force their members to stop work, or to return to work.

NDA General Secretary, Dr. Sam Yockopua, told EMTV News that it is not a strike, but a civil disobedience, which is allowed by the constitution.

Kali refused to accept this statement, saying that if they talked about matters that did not affect them, then they are talking ‘politics’.

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