Teachers demand payment

The PNG Teachers Association has rejected a proposed timeline of payment by the Government to pay their outstanding 3 percent pay increase.

Teachers Association General Secretary Ugwailubu Mowana demanded that the Government find the money to pay teachers the 3 percent for 2017 before the end of term one 2018.

Following the announcement made by the then Secretary for Department of Personnel Management John Kali last month to commence paying teachers, the Government promised 3 percent pay increase in March 2017.

Since then, several meetings have been held between the PNG Teachers Association and responsible Government authorities in relation to the outstanding Teaching Service Salary Fixation Agreement.

Mowana said when the agreement was signed in December 2016, the implementation for that agreement was to take place on the first of January 2017.

“But the implementation did not take place and PNGTA did take note and into account the national crises, due to the meltdown of the economy and the difficult situation over cash flow of the country. On that basis, we accepted for that agreement to be stalled until now.”

Unfortunately, Mowana said the 3 percent increase plus Teaching Service Allowances (TSA), plus other components of allowances in that agreement, have not been implemented since January 1st 2017.

The State has given them this schedule of payment;

  1. The 2017 outstanding component of the wards will be settled in 2018, over 24 fortnights.
  2. 2018 outstanding award component in the agreement will be settled in 2019 on the similar equation of settling by instalments,
  3. The 2019 component will be paid in a similar manner in 2020, by instalments.

But the teachers have rejected this plan.

“We are not accepting those three schedules.

PNGTA want the 2017 outstanding awards be settled in March or preferably instalments of three to five fortnights.

“2018 and 2019 outstanding, we will go back to the discussion table again.”

The teachers are also disappointed to learn that this agreement was never factored in the 2018 budget.

“What did the Teaching Services Commission do? They know, they signed the agreement. Why didn’t they factor it in the 2018 budget? Why did they ignore that agreement?

“Why didn’t the Department of Personnel Management factor in the total public servant emolument bill?”

With those questions hanging, the PNGTA is giving the Government before the term one ends to pay up the 3 percent increase for 2017.  

If the Government does not pay up, the teachers registered under the Association will decide the next course of action.

Mowana indicated industrial action, citing teachers have suffered enough, committing themselves in often very tough conditions to drive and support the Government’s education priorities.

Charmaine Poriambep