It has become clear that teachers all over the country have had pay cuts of varying degrees. Most have had to deal K200 deductions to their pays for the last three fortnights (pay 17,18 and 19).
Lae Secondary School teacher, Charlie Clyde Tikaro, told me he is still trying to understand why more than K200 was removed from his pay without any explanation. Today he brought his pay slip for me to see.
There was no description of the deduction.
“I think it’s highly unfair that our pays have been cut. Nobody has come forward with an explanation. People from the Provincial Education Office say the deductions were done in Port Moresby. I think we need an explanation,” Charlie said.
Teachers from rural schools have been the hardest hit.
Musa Moses, who teaches at a school on the border of Morobe and Oro provinces, gets paid about K600 after tax. The government payroll system deducted K200 leaving him with a little over K400.
“Teachers are among the hardest working public servants. Deductions like this make me not want to work. Why should we work if deductions like this continue?”
To travel to Lae, Musa had to pay about K70 to travel on a passenger boat. How much can you save? What will you use to buy food and other supplies? You must also have K70 saved for your return trip.
At Markham Road Primary School, one senior teacher reported that she was paid only K7. Another at Omili Primary got K35 as her ‘normal pay.’
At Malahang Technical High School, the teachers gathered for an impromptu conference. I told them, ‘this is a conversation…not and interview.’
Deputy Principal, Charlie Sigimet, said 32 teachers had their pays cut. One teacher didn’t get paid at all. She was told, the payroll system overpaid her previously. The system is now deducting much of her pay leaving her with just K45.
Whose fault is it? Definitely NOT hers!
“I don’t know what she will do with K45? For me, my pay for this fortnight was K280 after more than K300 was deducted. I have to pay for power, water, lunch for the kids and by next week, our food will run out and we have to borrow money just for food.
“My concern is the lack of transparency. The pay slips don’t show their gross earnings.Teachers don’t know how much is being deducted. It is not shown.”