15 Nov 2005

Striking doctors in Samoa reject government order to return to work

9:34 am on 15 November 2005

Striking doctors in Samoa are rejecting a government order to return to work today and say they will not go back unless their demands are met.

A spokesperson for the Samoa Medical Association, Dr Viali Lameko, says they've sent a letter to the chief executive officer of the Ministry of Health, to inform them that the public doctors will remain on strike.

Dr Lameko says they're dismayed that the cabinet rejected their request for higher entry salaries and better working conditions.

And, he says the prime minister may have stated that the government's decision is final, but so is theirs.

"Our decision is final as well that we're never going to go back. We still insist that they have not given us a favourable response concerning entry points, and the rest of the career salaries for doctors here working in the public system."

Dr Lameko says the situation is at an impasse but under Public Service regulations they may be charged with insubordination or other grievances and after 14 days, they could be sacked.

He says of the original 32 striking doctors, two consultants and a senior surgeon have resigned, and two others have left for Micronesia, leaving 27 off work.