PNGTUC condemns Minister Manase’s call

The PNG Trade Union Congress (TUC) says the statement by Labour and Industrial Relations Minister, Alfred Manase, saying justification is needed for a new Minimum Wage Determination, is out of order.

In a statement today, the PNGTUC responded to the announcement by Minister Manase that employers and worker representatives need to justify why a new minimum wage must be set.

The PNGTUC refutes this claim, stating that provisioned in the "Gazetted" 2014 Minimum Wage Determination is a clause that specifically states, the minimum wage shall be reviewed after three years.

“That is three years after the 03rd July, 2016, when K3.50 rate was effected. 

“The MW Determination is a binding agreement between the tripartite partners which includes the state. As such, the call by the Labour Minister for justification, to convene a new MWB, from workers and employers is out of order.

“Inflationary impact on the purchasing power of the Kina and the ever increasing cost of living are not alienated responsibilities. The government has the fiduciary duty to the people to be informed of these basic facts.

“What is put on show by the Minister and his Secretary is the lacklustre performance of the state's representative, the Labour Dept, to keep abreast of vital economic data that impact on workers wellbeing.”

The PNG TUC says this call by the Minister and Secretary responsible for Labour absolutely lack any human concern for the families of citizens earning minimum wage.

Minister Manase earlier said a new determination can only be made once there is sufficient validation.

“It is the employers and workers who have to provide the justification that there is a need to review,” stated the Minister.

“The workers may say K3.50 an hour can’t help us survive, the cost of living has increased, and so we need that raise, and therefore the minimum wages must be lifted. That’s the justification that needs to be made to the Department and to me as the Minister responsible.”

(Labour and Industrial Relations Minister, Alfred Manase)

Cedric Patjole