3 Jul 2007

Tonga Public Servants Association to present petition calling for P.M.'s resignation

2:00 pm on 3 July 2007

Tonga's Public Servants Association, the PSA, is to present a petition to the King, calling for the resignation of the prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele.

The PSA's secretary, Mele 'Amanaki, says Dr Sevele has refused to meet members of the association to negotiate over the pay and conditions of public servants.

She says the prime minister has responded by writing letters which have not accepted PSA demands.

Ms 'Amanaki says the government has also ignored calls by the PSA for the board of the Public Service Commission to resign.

She says they've been left with no other option and the PSA will take industrial action if necessary.

"On Friday we are submitting a petition to the king and parliament and that will be directly against the prime minister. We're going to demand his resignation from government. We're also going to demand a partnership for quality agreement between government, Public Service Commission and also the Public Servants."

Ms 'Amanaki says more than a thousand public servants have signed the petition and more are expected to.

Action is also being taken against the chairperson of the PSC, Mishka Tuifua, who is the general manager of the Westpac Bank in Tonga.

Ms 'Amanaki says PSA members are withdrawing their accounts from Westpac and will ask for the removal of their portion of the retirement fund from Westpac unless Mrs Tuifua resigns as head of the PSC.