Rita Flynn workers on strike

Frontline COVID-19 workers on short term contract at the Rita Flynn isolation facility in Port Moresby are on strike over outstanding salary payments.

They are calling on the National Capital District Provincial Health Authority to sort out this issue.

These health workers are playing an integral role braving the frontline, fighting against COVID-19.

Spokesperson, Nap Kange, said the 54 staff, including doctors, nurses, community health workers and drivers have not been paid fortnightly according to the contracts that they signed. Most of them are breadwinners of their families.

“According to section 5.1 of the contract, the employer shall pay the employees salaries on fortnightly basis but this is not happening," said Kange.

 Kange explained that they received their first payment after seven fortnights.

"We received our payments in July and then they assured us that they will pay us every fortnight but it never happened."

Kange said they are willing to work despite the lack of manpower at the facility, however they want NCD PHA to honour the contracts and fasttrack their payments.

“We are the only people running the operation here. Our concern is, taim mipla ranim disla operasen olsem, tupla lain blong mipla, wanpla dokta na nes, i kisim COVID-19 na ol i silip i stap long hausik without their pay.

“The HR team from NCD PHA are failing us. We are already tired of this."

They also claim they are not getting their over-time payments despite the 12-hour shift that they do.

“We are working 12 hours because of lack of manpower. When you are trying to get yourself in full level 3 PPE, you cannot work 4 or 5 hours. You will exhaust yourself," said Kange.

At the Rita Flynn facility, there are three teams functioning. The first being the surveillance team, where they conduct contact tracing. The second team is the clinical team that includes the doctors, nurses and CHW who are looking after the patients at the facility. The final team is the Infection, Prevention and Control, who are overlooking the facility to make sure the staff do not contract COVID-19.




Jemimah Sukbat