FIJI WOMEN’S GROUP SUPPORTS TONGAN STRIKE

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FIJI WOMEN’S GROUP SUPPORTS TONGAN STRIKE

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Aug. 31) - Tonga’s civil servants, who are into the sixth week of a strike, have found an ally in the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.

FWRM spokeswoman Anna Padarath said they were organizing support for the workers who have been on strike over wages.

"The support is because most of those on strike are women and children," she said. "We have started to collect donations for food and such, which has already started to show our support."

She said they were not planning any marches yet because of the difficulty in obtaining march permits.

Radio Australia reports all striking civil servants from other islands in Tonga are ready to gather in the capital, Nuku’alofa, this weekend to prepare for another march next week.

The strike organizers say similar solidarity marches will be held simultaneously in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and New Zealand next week.

The Tongan government says it's still prepared to negotiate with the striking workers after mediation talks broke down earlier this week.

The strike has been going for more than six weeks.

Medical services are reported to be in crisis with hospital emergency rooms struggling with reduced staff.

September 1, 2005

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