Workers at South Pacific International Container Terminal Limited (SPICT), Lae, Papua New Guinea. Image courtesy of ICTSI
A new union agreement that reinstates pay and employment conditions for workers at two union ports in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been welcomed by The International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF), however concerns regarding 213 who are still without a contract still remain.
The PNG Maritime and Transport Workers Union (PNGMTWU) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), the Philippine port operator, following building pressure from the local workforce and international sources.
ICTSI and PNG officers after signing the agreement. Image courtesy of ICTSI
ITF president and chair of the ITF docker’s section, Paddy Crumlin, said: “This Memorandum of Agreement is a significant victory for workers who were looking down the barrel of a 50% wage cut.
“The ITF congratulates the PNGMTWU and its members for digging in and demanding the pay and conditions that PNG dockworkers have fought for over decades.
“However the ITF remains concerned that 213 workers are still without a contract after receiving termination notices from the former concession holder at Port Moresby.
“The transition of these jobs to the new Motukea terminal needs to be urgently addressed by ICTSI.”
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The agreement follows months of disruption and protests after the ICTSI was awarded concession agreements for the operation PNG’s two major ports in October 2017, and cut in worker’s pay down to the legal minimum — impacting overall working conditions.
Paddy Crumlin continued: “This sits in sharp contrast to ICTSI’s industrial relations practices elsewhere in the world. For this to be real progress ICTSI must extend this respect for workers’ across the entirety of the company’s global operations.
“The ITF is prepared to work with ICTSI to progress the fundamental rights of all workers across its global network, to end the exploitation of its global workforce, recognise trade unions and stop undermining the wages, conditions and safety of its workforce.”
The ITF recently released a shareholder advisory note detailing governance issues at the ICTSI, and recently exposed the company when an Indonesian worker died at its facility in Jakarta in November 2017.