Public Sector Unions Warns of Nationwide Strike Action if Political Interference in Public Offices Continue

By Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Public sector union leaders are demanding an immediate stop to political interference in public service appointmen’s.

During a news conference this afternoon members of the Council of Public Sector Unions (COPSU) warn that if political appointmen’s and interference continue, the entire public service will come to a halt.

This warning follows the battle for the commissioner’s post within the Correctional Service and a rumour that Police Commissioner Gari Baki may be replaced.

“This message goes to the government that COPSU as a federated body; we will not sit back and watch. The entire COPSU affiliate will be supporting the two associations both CIS and Police if they are to stand down, then the entire COPSU affiliate will stand down and the public service will be crippled,” said Public Employees Association General Secretary, Peter Togs, who chaired the COPSU news conference this afternoon.

He said political interference has become demoralising for public servants.

“Political interference in the public service has basically crippled the service delivery machine. There is no job security.”

He said matters of appointmen’s such as the CS commissioners post is now before the courts which is wasting public money.

“The reason being is that due process in the public service has been hijacked by politicians; due process is not followed by politicians, the national executive arm of the government.”

Another matter of concern for the union leaders was salaries. Police Union General Secretary and COPSU Deputy Chairman, Clemence Kanau, said their members have complained this week of variances to their salaries.

“There have been cuts to their salaries and we are very concerned. We are investigating this particular allegation.”

Police union Senior Vice President, Leuth Nidung, said the cuts range from, “K30 to K100. Police HR they are also in doubt,” he said.

“They do not know what is really happening because they are facing the same situation.”

Kanau called for other public servants to come forward if they see unexplained salary cuts.

“Please liaise with your unions quickly and immediately. It’s an indication of government facing financial crisis as we speak.”

Veteran unionist Ugluwabu Mowana said public servants salaries should never be tempered with and warns of decisive action if this warning is not heeded.

“We are in solidarity, we are willing to act now and act in solidarity. That’s why we are calling on our members to be vigilant and stand by to embrace further instructions from the unions.”

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