17 Nov 2005

Samoa PM sticks to position after strike doctors quit

10:16 am on 17 November 2005

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, is sticking to his position on the pay and conditions of medical staff, after striking doctors resigned from their jobs in public hospitals.

All 25 doctors quit yesterday after an ultimatum was laid down by the Prime Minister for them to end more than two months of industrial action, or face dismissal.

Tuilaepa says the doctors could not hope to get everything they have asked for.

He also says the government had to stay firm, as it could not raise the salaries of one public service profession only.

"The reason why we have to be very firm is because this is exactly the same thing in the strike of 1981, when the government at the time buckled under the same kind of threats by the doctors, and so the government yielded, forgetting the whole service were watching."