26 Jul 2005

Striking Tongan public servants push for 80 percent pay rise

3:26 pm on 26 July 2005

More than 2,000 striking public servants in Tonga say they will not return to work until they are given a wage increase of up to 80 percent.

The workers originally went on strike following a hefty wage rise for senior public servants, calling for the raises to be cut.

The interim deputy chairman of the Public Service Association says they want a fairer pay-scale.

Maliu Takai says it might make more sense for the public service as a whole to receive increased wages.

"We want the raise to be 60, 70 and 80 percent for three categories of"

the civil service. That's our position. I understand that the government is trying to initiate something in between or in other words they might look for a compromise, but for us, at this point we are still holding on to our 60, 70 and 80 percent.

Mr Takai says the wage increases would mean the government would have to spend 10.3 million US dollars, something he says is feasible.