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Education & security winners in PNG budget

Claims of workers’ rights violations in PNG

SERIOUS AND CONTINUED violations of fundamental workers’ rights are disclosed in a new report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on core labour standards in PNG.

While PNG is a signatory to all eight core International Labour Organisation conventions, the ITUC says determined measures are now needed to comply with the promises PNG has made.

Many legal provisions on the rights of trades unions do not conform with ILO conventions and limit trade union rights. There are also grave violations of workers’ rights, especially in the logging industry.

Female, disabled and homosexual workers suffer from having inadequate protection from discrimination at work. Gender and other types of discrimination in employment occur.

While child labour is outlawed in PNG, the legislative framework has gaps. Child labour occurs on farms, in street vending and in domestic service. Child prostitution is reported as a problem with some children forced into it by their own families.

Forced labour occurs in mines and logging camps, as well as in prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude.

Among the important recommendations are:

The government should implement measures to improve women’s participation in the workforce and women’s participation in high skilled and high paid jobs, and close the gender wage gap.

Sexual harassment at the workplace should be prohibited.

The authorities need to protect Asian workers and entrepreneurs from violence and start positive action campaigns to change societal discrimination against foreigners and immigrants.

Legislation is required to prevent discrimination against homosexuals, including at the workplace.

Primary education should free, compulsory and universal.

The law must be amended to stipulate that the minimum age for admission to work should be 14 years of age.

The government needs to take measures to change societal norms in the tribal areas in order to combat child labour, selling of children and women, and other traditional forms of slavery.

Penalties for serious crimes such as forced labour and forced prostitution should be made more stringent.

Read the full report at

Spotter: Peter Kranz


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