PNG teachers thrill over hike in pay

PORT MORESBY – The country’s 56,000 teachers are looking forward to their next fortnight’s pay when they are to receive a 3 per cent pay rise – backdated to January last year and gradually paid out.

PNG Teaching Service Commission chairman Baran Sori told The National that the pay rise approved by the National Executive Council should be in the teachers’ accounts on Pay 13 (fortnight ending June 20).

“The Teaching Service Commission and the union (PNG Teachers’ Association) have met on this and we have agreed on the schedules (now approved by the NEC),” he said.

“The implementation is scheduled for Pay 13. The union is aware and is happy with the 3 per cent pay rise.”

Public Service Minister Elias Kapavore announced on Wednesday that Cabinet had directed Treasury to provide funds for the public-sector awards involving annual pay rises of 3 per cent for 2017, one for 2018 and one for 2019.

He said last year’s payment was yet to be paid because of the “cash flow restrictions”.

There are altogether 120,000 public servants. Teachers are the largest group and will receive the awards first.

Next are members of the disciplined services, law and justice sector and revenue-raising agencies. The final group are the health workers plus the remaining public servants and State agencies.

“By this time next year, the 2018 award rates with the back pay will have been fully implemented,” he said.

Kapavore said the 2017 salary adjustments for teachers would be paid from Pay 13 to Pay 16. In addition, the back pay from Jan 1, 2017, will be paid in separate quarterly amounts.

Sori said what Kapavore said was in line with the schedule agreed to by the commission and the teachers’ union.

“It’s Government’s decision. We are waiting for that,” he said.

No comments could be obtained from the PNG Teachers’ Association last night but a senior lecturer in community development studies at the Balob Teachers College Jack Kukiwa said they were expecting the extra pay this week.

“We saw in the media last month that the 3 per cent pay rise will be on June 6. The news really got our hopes up,” he said. “The 3 per cent pay rise is back-dated to January 2017. Whatever the agreement made by PNG Teachers’ Association and Teaching Services Commission must be followed through.”

He said teachers the Government must honour its commitment.

“We are human beings and we teach our people. When you lie to us, it will affect our teaching,” Kukiwa said.