29 Aug 2005

Tongans in NZ and trade unions throw support behind striking tongans

10:13 am on 29 August 2005

Tongans in New Zealand and trade unions are throwing their support behind striking public workers in Tonga.

The civil servants are beginning their sixth week of strike action, in their demand for pay rises of up to 80-percent.

The Tongan community and the Council for Trade Unions have already provided the workers with 100-thousand dollars, and are organising a support march in Auckland on Saturday.

The CTU president, Ross WIlson, was part of a delegation of New Zealand strike mediators who arrived home this weekend after an unsuccessful visit to Tonga.

He says both parties - the Tongan government, and the striking workers - hold strong positions and the mediation attempt was two weeks too late.

Mr Wilson says unions from around the Pacific support the striking workers.