Department of Personnel Management has clarified that the sit-in protest undertaken by members of the PNG Nurses Association is illegal.
Secretary Ms Taies Sansan said the state has not been informed of any industrial dispute or a call for withdrawal of labour registered by the Industrial Registrar and there was no secret ballot conducted by the nurses and therefore the notice issued for withdrawal of labour in the media is illegal and improper.
Secretary Ms Taies Sansan said, the government is doing all it can to address issues contained in the Memorandum of Agreement signed by DPM, PNGNA and the Department of Health on the 25th of August 2020.
Secretary Sansan said, the government through respective agencies has taken steps to prioritize and commence implementation of the awards contained in the MoA.
“We have made a commitment to ensure duty related allowance for this group of front line health service providers for the next 3 years commencing 01st January 2021 is agreed to. However, considering the severe budget constraints compounded by covid-19, it would be more appropriate to find an amicable way forward to resolving the issue”.
Secretary Sansan said, following the signing of the MoA DPM further issued a Circular Instruction 5/2021 on the 17th of February 2021 calling on all line agencies employing nursing officers to ensure implementation of the MoA and also informing Finance & Treasury to assist employing agencies in consultation with DPM to configure and allocate a code for the nurses Life and Medical Insurance subsidy on the payroll.
“We have been in constant consultation on this matter with PNGNA and NDOH and are doing everything possible to honour the awards as per the MoA”.
Ms Sansan, the last meeting held with all parties in which PNGNA was present was on the 10th of September when the status of implementing the awards was provided.
The Nurses Award provides for all Nurses duty related inconveniences and hardships suffered by nurses from time to time in all public health facilities due to: unforeseen health hazards, risks of violence from patients, their families and the public, arduous physical efforts, danger in remote rural locations and most importantly the high risk for contraction of communicable diseases in line of duty, the following were undertaken;
1. 2021-2023 MoA Signed
Nurses as front line workers were given special considerations and this was done through the MoA despite challenges the government is currently facing especially in light of covid-19
2. Circular Instruction for Implementation Issued
Circular Instruction No.5 of 2021 was issued on the 17th of February 2021 for all implementing agencies to implement the awards.
3. Finance & Treasury Informed
A letter of advice was issued to the 2 responsible departments for funding implementation of the MoA.
Secretary Sansan has assured PNGNA that configurations of most of the allowances have been done and the new rates and allowances will commence as soon as practical with technical requirements which are time bound.
“DPM is in constant dialogue with Department of Finance who will implement this on the payroll. I call on the PNG Nurses Association to withdraw the sit-in protest as it is illegal and should not in any way hinder health service provisions for our people especially at this time when covid-19 is putting a strain on our health