13 Dec 2004

PNG PM orders reinstatement of Telikom board, minister critical of union's role

8:27 pm on 13 December 2004

Papua New Guinea's State Enterprises Minister has criticised the Communications Workers' Union for becomining involved in the Telikom board saga.

Dr Puka Temu has been instructed by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to reinstate the Telikom Board he sacked earlier this month for its stand against the proposed sale of the company.

The Prime Minister's intervention came after he received letters from the Communications Workers' Union calling for the reinstatement of the board.

Although Dr Temu agreed to reinstate them, he will await the outcome of court action taken by the board seeking to stay their terminations, before taking any action.

But he says the union's ability to sabotage PNG's communications shouldn't mean it can take advantage of the government.

"I believe it's wrong for unions to do that, but equally in an area where it's not their turf. Appointing directors and dismissing them is the minister's responsibility. I haven't sacked any of their staff members so it's not an industrial matter. They're confusing their roles completely."

Meanwhile, Sir Michael says cabinet will deliberate on the sale of Telikom early this week, and has urged the unions not to take any strike action.