PNG trade union says wages stolen from low paid workers

A Papua New Guinea trade union leader says the country‘s low paid workers have millions of kina stolen from their wages by their employers.

Photo: RNZI

The Trade Union Congress has raised concerns about what it calls wage theft.

The TUC general secretary, John Paska, said tens of thousands of workers, mostly on PNG‘s minimum wage, have been underpaid an estimated $US224 million dollars over the past five years.

He said this happens in a number of ways; firstly employers undervalue a position and so pay the worker much less than they should get.

“And secondly they just deliberately with hold payment or underpay workers. In the context of minimum wage earners for instance the full complement of the minimum wage rate is not paid so therefore what ever the balance is and not paid amounts to ‘wage theft.‘ you are basically stealing money that belongs to the employee that you are employing.”

John Paska said often employers pay just 2.50 kina to minimum wage earners when the rate is 3.50 kina.

He said the regulatory agencies were not fulfilling their policing role.