Refugee case-worker dispute escalates in Port Moresby following mass resignations

| February 11, 2020 | Reply

Twenty-nine case-workers have resigned from JDA, the company contracted to provide services to refugees living in limbo in Port Moresby.

The twenty-nine PNG nationals resigned last Friday in a dispute with JDA management over discrepancies over pay rates, travel allowance, medical insurance and other disputed conditions over the multi-million dollar contracts paid by Australia.

“There is a big difference between what Australian ex-pats are paid and what JDA pays its case workers,” one of the case workers told the Refugee Action Coalition. “The company is paid millions of dollars by the Australia government but this company is keeping 90 per cent for their profits.”

“We are being exploited – over-worked and under-paid,” the case-worker added.

A statement issued by the case-workers says, “…we have raised [the issues] with [JDA parent company] Applus Mangement Oceania Regional manager who is currently in PNG, but he refused to listen.”

This is not the first time JDA has faced accusations of rorting and abuse of its contracts. A number of ex JDA workers made statements last year about JDA management instructing them to ‘cook the books’ and falsify reports of JDA activities to Australia.

JDA is also the subject of an investigation by the Australian National Audit Office over abuse of its multi-million contract with the Australian government. The ANAO report is due to be tabled in April 2020.

Meanwhile it is reported that JDA is attempting to recruit new workers to replace the case-workers who have resigned. A delegation of the case-workers met with the PNG Prime Minister Marape’s chief of staff today (Tuesday, 11 February). The delegation is maintaining a presence outside the PM’s office this afternoon – picture attached.

“The case-workers are central to delivering services to the refugees who have been dispersed across several hotels in Port Moresby, with no plans for resettlement” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The Australian government has spent hundreds of millions maintaining their offshore prisons. They have willingly turned a blind eye to the multi-million dollar rorts by the likes of JDA, and Paladin.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul: 0417 275 713.

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