5 Aug 2005

Large crowd at fresh Tongan strike rally

3:40 pm on 5 August 2005

The Public Servant strike in Tonga has gained more momentum, with up to 5-thousand people attending today's rally to support the action.

The strike is two weeks old with workers calling for raises of up to 80 percent.

Earlier this week, the interim Public Servants Association, rejected an offer of raises up to 30 percent from the government.

Our Correspondent in Tonga, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the striking workers are holding steadfast to their demands.

He says the government is now under more pressure to resolve the dispute as more groups show their support for the workers' cause.

"The Nuku'alofa primary school students and their teachers, joined the rally today and they marched. After them you had the Teachers' Training College going on strike as well and the institution here for women and children here have entered the rally and that was followed by the majority of the ministry of health going on strike."

Britain has reviewed its travel advisory for Tonga, saying tourists should avoid political gatherings there.

The Foreign and Commonwealth office says if travellers are concerned they might wish to check the latest situation with their travel agent before departure.