16 Oct 2003

Papua New Guinea government meet with concerned telecommuncation workers

12:42 pm on 16 October 2003

Government officials in Papua New Guinea have bowed to pressure from telecommunications workers, who were threatening to go on strike on Wednesday.

Officials are meeting with members of the Communications Workers' Union on Thursday to discuss their concerns over the partial privatisation of Telikom PNG.

The national president of the union, Bob Magaru, issued an ultimatum last week, saying workers would resume strike action unless they got some answers by Wednesday.

Mr Magaru says the Minister for State Enterprises, Thomas Pruaitz, organised the meeting after giving the union a written guarantee that their concerns would be heard.

"The Minister has directed Industrial Relations to a round-table compulsory conference tomorrow which we anticipate that we will sign a memorandum of our agreement to safeguard the enterprise agreement, the redundancy package and the equity participation."

Mr Magaru says the Independent Public Business Corporation - the government arm responsible for the sale, have been summonsed to attend.

He says the intention of the Memorandum of Agreement is to safeguard the workers' benefits and entitlements.