16 Aug 2005

PNG union disagrees with PM over power company hiring policy

4:37 pm on 16 August 2005

The Papua New Guinea Energy Workers Association has taken issue with the Prime Minister's public support of PNG Power.

The union has threatened to disrupt power supplies in a dispute over the company's hiring of a foreign new chief executive officer.

The prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has taken out full-page advertisements praising changes at the state-owned power supplier.

But the union's general secretary, Philip Kaira, says the current board, headed by an Australian, John Jeffrey, wants to hire an Australian to the role of CEO, instead of a PNG national.

He says the Prime Minister's comments didn't refer to this.

"He was not very specific on the power company's achievements in regards to the current board and previous board. He just generalised and said the board was making positive changes, but we the union don't agree to that, because it is not the current board that Mr Jeffrey's on, who had made the changes."

Philip Kaira from the PNG Energy Workers Association