by Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
The workers of the St John Ambulance service stopped work today in protest to news they will not be paid in the last two fortnights of the year.
The disgruntled workers demanded to know why they would not be getting paid in Pay Period 25 and 26.
This morning, the workers of the ambulance service were reacting to an internal memo. It told them that the NGO had run out of money and will not be able to pay the staff.
This announcement did not go well with the workers, who resolved to a stop work. They demanded explanations. Eventually, St John CEO, Andrew Kalai, and Chief Officer and Commissioner for Ambulance, Courtney Muller, addressed the staff.
Mr. Kalai told the staff that soon after starting as CEO in July, he saw that the NGO would be running short of funds sooner or later.
Since September, he has been speaking and sending out letters to appropriate authorities in government to pay the ambulance service what is due to them. However, there have been no positive responses, giving rise to the financial problem.
St John PNG is a non-governmental organization which is part of the international charity known as the Order of St John. The ambulance service is one of 8 services operated throughout PNG.
CEO Kalai asked the staff for their patience at this time. He announced also that the Council would be meeting this evening to address the issue. The workers, meanwhile are adamant they will continue their stop-work, until and unless the pay issues are resolved.