Government wrong to protect foreign companies while ignoring worker abuses


While the PNG government says in its budget unveiled this week that it wants to 'lower barriers to foreign investment' and remove 'business impediments, lower import tariffs and reducing regulatory burdens' it seems to have forgotten the interests of its own citizens in its rush to support foreign companies.

A new report by the International Trade Union Confederation says there are "serious and continued violations of fundamental workers' rights" in Papua New Guinea.

The report can be downloaded below.

The ITUC says PNGs laws need to be updated and amended to give better legal protection to workers and to provide assistance to child workers and the victims of trafficking and forced labour - but none of this rated a mention in the government budget announcements this week.

The reports highlights the inadequate protection for female and disabled workers in current laws.

It also discloses the problem of child labour which it says occurs primarily in farms, in street vending and in domestic servitude.

Child prostitution is also reported as a problem with sometimes children forced into it by their own families.  

While PNG laws do prohibit forced labour and trafficking, its provisions do not afford a maximum of protection, and penalties are not stringent, says the report. Forced labour occurs in mines and logging camps, as well as in the form of forced prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude. 

Rather than announcing measures to tackle these problems and low wages, poor working conditions, debt bondage and cramped and unhygenic accommodation for workers, the PNG government it seems is intent on making it easier for more foreign companies to enter PNG and exploit the gaps in our laws and replicate the conditions that workers are already suffering.


PDF icon ITUC report.pdf59.41 KB


I hope Michael Malabag has read the ITUC report too. He seems to be defending the government on some issues, but he is a TUC man. Wonder if he is doing TUC job with his guts rather than doing it for money. He seems to think that the NA government should lead until 2012, and he was given a consultancy job in Vision 2050 by the government.