Health support workers’ claim log to be heard

The outstanding log of claims for members of the PNG Health Support Workers Association (PNGHSWA) is expected to be heard in January or February 2018 by a tribunal.

Interim executives of the Association say the log of claims have yet be heard by the tribunal due to administrative issues.

During a meeting with members, the interim executives said once that is sorted, their log of claims will be looked into by the tribunal.

During the meeting, PNGHSWA general secretary, Jack Suao, said the Association is recognised by the Solicitor General Office since October 31st and they are now able to proceed with the hearing of their log of claims.

“It’s now a legal entity. So we have every right now. We’ve got every right to fight. We’ve got every right to dispute. We will take our Association forward,” said Suao.

Lawyer Ralph Saulep informed the members that the delayed revalidation of the Tribunal’s chairperson’s term and the lack of quorum of the tribunal were among the reasons for the delay.

“Be happy that all the paper work has been done. All the claims that you want for your members have been lodged,” said Saulep.

“It’s been lodged last year. And all that we are waiting is the legal issues to be resolved so that the chairperson is legally appointed, the quorum is present, and we will go and present your log of claims.

“We are ready now. We were ready as of two months ago,” said Saulep.

PNG Health Support Workers represent around 3,000 members nationwide who were previously not recognised and not represented adequately.

The executives claim this has resulted in health support workers being among the lowest paid public servants, despite being the largest human resource in the health sector.

“We need to get their terms and conditions improved like other clinical unions such as doctors, nurses, CSWs and allied health, being well looked after, well paid,” said Suao.

Despite delays such as the reluctance of the Department of Personnel Management in recognising them, the Association was finally recognised by the solicitor general last year.

The Association can now raise and negotiate better terms and conditions for its members.

The Industrial Registrar of the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations has issued instructions for the Electoral Commission to conduct elections for the Association.

Preparations are underway to have the first official executives voted in March.

Cedric Patjole