Papua New Guinea: Manus Island Paladin staff walk off the job due to underpayment leaving refugee detention facility unmanned

Author: Benjamin Robinson-Drawbridge, Radio New Zealand, Published on: 27 February 2019

"Manus Island Paladin staff walk off the job", 27 February 2019

Staff providing services to refugees on Manus Island have walked off the job in protest.

Refugees in each of the three facilities used to detain about 600 men on the Papua New Guinea island reported that all staff, including those employed by controversial security contractor Paladin and Pacific International Hospital (PIH) had deserted their posts.

Award-winning journalist and Manus refugee Behrouz Boochani said the strike was prompted by anger from Paladin staff at the company's failure to reply to letter they had written.

...It said a petition from employees of Pomwan Paladin Security, addressed to Paladin management, claimed they were being underpaid with no risk allowances added to the rates of $AU2-$3 an hour, or overtime paid for shifts of up to 12 hours.

...Paladin staff in Port Moresby were paid about $AU1.50 per hour, despite the company being awarded a controversial $AU423 million contract to provide security for the refugees.

...When asked about the strike action, Paladin advised RNZ Pacific it was unable to comment on the work it undertakes on behalf of the Australian government in PNG.

"I encourage you to direct any further queries to the Department of Home Affairs. Our number one priority and focus right now is the safety, security and well-being of our staff, the communities in which we operate and the people in our care."

 

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Related companies: Paladin Group