More talks ahead for striking doctors
NATIONAL Court judge Justice Catherine Davani will decide today what course the nationwide doctors’ five-day strike should take, The National reports.
She will hear the ex parte (one party) application from the state on the status of the failed negotiations between the Health and Personnel Management departments and the National Doctors Association prior to last Friday’s walkout.
Secondly, Davani will hear an application by state lawyers that the NDA executives should be held in contempt for defying her orders last Friday not to order their members to strike.
In related developments yesterday, as most of the 500 doctors throughout the country stayed away from work indefinitely:
*Deputy Prime Minister Sam Abal met with Health Minister Sasa Zibe and Public Service Minister Moses Madalina to discuss the urgency of resolving the dispute;
*Health secretary Dr Clement Malau and Personnel Management secretary John Kali announced that they were ready to meet with the NDA executives to discuss their claims for pay rise and improved working conditions;
*The disputing parties snubbed a compulsory roundtable conference called by the Public Service Conciliation and Arbitration Tribunal at 10am;
*Provincial doctors claimed they were not being updated regularly on the developments by their NDA executives in Port Moresby;
*Heath secretary refuted claims of double dipping and embezzlement of public funds by six senior executive managers of the Health Department;
*Several private clinics recorded higher than normal daily patients being treated since the weekend; and
*More than six trade unions, affiliated to the umbrella PNG Trade Union Congress, maintained their support for the NDA.
Davani’s rulings at 9.30am today would set the stage on where the dispute would be heading.