1 Feb 2006

Public sector workers in Cooks in talks over increased cost of living allowance

2:20 pm on 1 February 2006

Public sector workers in the Cook Islands say they've begun talks with the government which they hope will lead to an increase in yearly Cost of Living Allowances.

The last cost of living adjustment was an increase of between seven and eight per cent, paid in 1992, and the minimum wage last went up in 2000.

The president of the Cook Islands Workers' Association, Anthony Turua, says the rising price of fuel is now making it harder for people to get by.

"That has now been passed on to consumers, same as for instance the basic necessities like sugar, rice, bread, overall the prices have gone up in the last five to six years and there hasn't been any review in terms of the cost of living."

Mr Turua says his association discussed the issue with the internal affairs minister, Ngamau Munukoa, last month, and they want to be part of a COLA review committee.

The chief executive of the internal affairs ministry, Arthur Taripo, says the workers' association has jumped the gun and there's no agreement on the committee, the composition or the timeframe.