Planned Civil Servant Strike In Tonga Postponed

admin's picture

PSA giving government the week-end to response to salary demands

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 17, 2014) – The strike by the Civil Servants that was scheduled for today, October 17, has been postponed to Monday October 20, the Secretary General of Public Service Association (PSA), Mele ‘Amanaki told Matangi Tonga yesterday.

Mele was not specific on the reason for the delay other than that the PSA is giving government three more days to provide a satisfactory response to their demand for a 22% salary rise.

She said that the figure looks high but that was because government failed to abide by the law for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to the salaries of civil servants every two years. No COLA had been implemented since 2005, "but the cost of living went up by 44%." The 5% COLA that was introduced in January was the first since 2005.

She said that the COLA that was discovered by a Public Service Commission in 2013 was 44%. The PSC suggested 23%, then government came up with 20%, "and that was why we settled for 22%".

"We don’t believe that government has no money. Government has the money, the problem is because there is no fair distribution of national wealth." Mele believed that government was overlooking what she believed was the top priority of every employer, "to keep the employees happy."

However, Mele said that the strike on Monday would not be a national strike, but only in Tongatapu. The outer islands, Vava’u and Ha’apai will follow later. She said that they were following strike procedure that is outlined in the law.

She said that 600 of the civil servants who had signed up to go on strike in Tongatapu are health workers, but they have scheduled for them to walk-out in batches. The same would be with other ministries, and they would increase the pressure over time with more walk-outs not only in Tongatapu but in the outer islands "until government comes up with an acceptable solution."

Meanwhile, according to ‘Aholotu Palu the Acting Chief Secretary and the Secretary to Cabinet, a meeting of government CEOs has decided that there would be no closures of any government services.

He said that the other issues that they addressed were the legality of any strike action taken by civil servants and that of national security.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment