23 Mar 2004

Public servants on Bougainville threaten strike action

10:11 am on 23 March 2004

Public servants on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville are threatening strike action unless the provincial administrative structure is put into place in ten days.

Up to three thousand members of the Public Employees Association could stage a sit-in protest if their demands are not met by April 2.

The Bougainville branch of the association has issued an ultimatum to the Bougainville administration and leaders following a recent meeting of union members.

The association's national president, Michael Malabag, says members have been working under appalling conditions and deserve to know how the changes will affect them.

"Public servants have not had any pay increases for the last five years, compared to the value of goods, plus being severely taxed on a lot of other things. There's a lot of disparities and if we don't get any proper response we're going to put it as a dispute with the Labour industrial relations office."

Mr Malabag says the continual delay in implementing the new structure is unjust.