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PNG's OK Tedi Mine Workers go on strike

THE Ok Tedi Mining Limited Workers Allied Union went on strike on Wednesday afternoon.
An employee of OTML said the situation was sparked when the OTML Worker’s Union received a letter from the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the OTML management last Saturday advising that all employees will be made redundant and their full entitlements be paid by December 13, 2013. 
He said this meant that the new OTML State Owned Enterprise will offer a contract to those staff whose services they needed. 
Those who wanted to leave would be offered a depature package called the voluntary departure offer (VDO) which comes with separate benefits. 
He said most staff in the mill and mine who wanted to stay and continue working for OTML were told that their positions are not defined in the new structure and they were forced by their management to sign the VDO to leave. 
Sources said that many of these people have worked for OTML for a long time and have seen the Star Mountain change shape from a high, tall mountain to a huge crater will have no jobs guarantee after the New Year. 
He said the VDO package which includes the payout of oustanding sick leave, full HOS forgiveness, K15,000 and their finish pay was not enough for them to take home. 
He said other benefits under the industrial agreement 2010-2015 such as school fees, travel entitlements, medical insurance and housing allowance will no longer be applied after the New Year. 
When asked for a comment yesterday afternoon, the OTML managment acknowledged that OK Tedi Workers Union and its members had staged an illegal stop work over redundancy and the VDP package. 
They said they were holding disscussions with the Union and the workforce to resolve the issue and have employees return to work by nightfall on Wednesday.
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