4 Jun 2004

PNG health workers protest against non-payment of wages

11:11 am on 4 June 2004

Unpaid health workers based in the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby converged on the national health conference venue on Thursday demanding their salaries.

The 20-odd health workers representing 121 colleagues say they have not been paid so far this year.

The Minister for Enterprises and Information Dr Puka Temu addressed the group and assured them that the issue would be addressed before the end of this week.

Dr Temu said he believed the problem is with the new payroll system.

The Chief Executive of Lae's Angau Memorial Hospital says the payment problems are not limited to Port Moresby.

Margaret Samei says some of her staff have even been overpaid.

"In one instance, a staff mamber was paid well over one hundred thousand (kina). He was nervous about this and at the same time he was honest. He came and told me and we had to get the bank to pay the money back to the finance department. So, who knows? Maybe there are others out there who have been paid the same? It was an opportunity for hime to grab those funds and he could have used them up."

The protest comes after the Teachers Association said earlier this week that over 5-thousand teachers had not been paid this year.