The Government of Papua New Guinea has been under fire to review the decision to award port operations in Lae and Port Moresby to Philippine port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI).
Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, has urged the Government to act in the best interests of its people by standing with workers, landowners and communities “exposed to ICTSI’s poor record on safety and labour relations.”
“The ITF, alongside the Maritime International Federation, is calling on the Minister of Transport, Hon. Wesley Nukundj, to intervene and urgently convene a meeting of stakeholders – including union and landowner representatives – to find a solution to the current crisis,” Crumlin said.
Over the past month, global port operator ICTSI has been the target of international condemnation over alleged patterns of labour violations in their network, poor safety standards, and insufficient managerial oversight to ensure productive industrial relations, and compliance with local laws and international labour conventions.
“The decision to award contracts at PNG’s two biggest ports to ICTSI will have a profound impact. The Papua New Guinea Maritime and Transport Workers Union, an affiliate of the ITF, says that more than 1,000 jobs will be lost at the ports and in associated industries due to the contracts awarded to ICTSI,” Crumlin added.
Joe Fleetwood, General Secretary of the Maritime Union of New Zealand, also called on the Government of PNG to act on the award of the 25-year contract, saying that the PNG government “must put its workers’ interests first, and protect the jobs of its people.”
Crumlin further said said that “the impact of ICTSI’s entry on the viability of PNG’s domestic coastal shipping network and implications that ICTSI’s predatory pricing structures will have on the costs of goods in the country need to be addressed.”
The protests against the PNG Government, which were held outside of the PNG Consulate in Sydney, Australia, and High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand, were organised by the ITF and MIF, and affiliates the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ).