Any strike will be illegal, says ANG

Any strike taken by Air Niugini staff will be deemed unlawful, unless all legal processes are followed.

Managing Director, Alan Milne, said this in response to questions from the media about any potential strike action taken by staff during the peak period of operations.

Air Niugini and the union body representing staff, the National Airline Employees Association (NAEA), have recently made headlines regarding negotiations on terms and conditions of staff.

The issue in focus relates to the ‘Industrial Awards’ or Employment Terms and Conditions of NAEA Members.

Since July, the NAEA has been pushing for a review and approval of changes to members’ terms and conditions but claim it has been ignored by PX management.

Speaking to the media following the opening of its new sales office in Port Moresby, Milne said he hopes a strike action does not take place during the peak period, as it will be illegal.

“We’re working very closely with the union and the Department of Labour as well. So we want to make sure that one, we look after our people, two, over this peak period we look after our customers,” said Milne.

“Now there is a legal process that must be followed before any strike action can be taken. I hope we don’t ever get close to going down that path, but that path itself will take a fair bit of time.

“So unfortunately if there is any action taken prior to that, it will be an illegal action. And we just don’t want that because it damages our customers, and more importantly it damages Air Niugini as well.”

Meanwhile, Milne said the airline has prepped six months in advance for the peak period and is in a good position.

“We do a lot of preparation all the time, however the peak period is when we have our maximum loads and we’re flying the most sectors.

“So we start our preparations about six months out, and we plan our maintenance so the airplanes are in tip top condition, they don’t have to be on the ground to have maintenance done on them during this period because we pre-planned all that. So we have maximum aeroplanes available, we have maximum staff and we are ready to go,” he stated.

(Air Niugini Managing Director, Alan Milne)

Cedric Patjole