Gure’s Agenda Involves Reviewing Outdated Labour Laws
Papua New Guinea’s Labour Laws are outdated and need reviewing. This, according to Labour and Industrial Minister Lekwa Gure, who said that these reforms are on top of his agenda.
Among the laws that need reviewing include the Industrial Relations Act, the Employment Act, the Industrial Organisations Act and others that are now subject to a review by responsible State agencies.
“Our labour laws are outdated and need to be revamped to suit our present times, give more protection to the workers as well as to take in the latest developments in international standards. This will be done by incorporating the latest ILO Conventions as we update the various pieces of legislation under which the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations carries out its work,” said Gure. “I am very pleased to announce that this important work is already captured in the work plan of the government’s SLOS Ministerial Committee which is headed by the Minister for Justice and Attorney General and I am assured that this work will be given priority. The new Industrial Relations Act will give rise to the establishment of an Industrial Relations Commission that among other powers can reinstate dismissed workers and award damages, which is timely because there is growing concern by labour trade unions on the prevalence of unfair dismissal cases.”
He continued, “The new Industrial Organisations Act will safeguard the rights of the workers to join a registered industrial organisation like a trade union as accorded under Section 47 and 48 of the national Constitution of PNG and this right must not be denied by any employer. We have a vibrant democracy that gives cognizance to human rights and the workers have the right to belong to a trade union of their choice without being intimidated by their employers. “Under these arrangements, it is my view that collective bargaining becomes the norm for resolving issues between both parties and we are more than prepared to interface with both the trade unions and the employer organisations to facilitate the same. The new Workers Compensation Act will give rise to potential increases in compensation paid to workers when they suffer injury or death at the workplace. This is well overdue as these rates have not been reviewed for the last 26 years.”