7 Aug 2007

Tongan Public Service Association claims executives being intimidated by government

1:44 pm on 7 August 2007

There are allegations that the Tongan government is on a campaign to intimidate and frighten public servants after the sacking of a key activist from the public service.

The secretary-general of the Public Service Association, Mele 'Amanaki, has been dismissed from her job at the Ministry of Agriculture over what the Public Service Commission calls political activities.

Ms 'Amanaki says all she did was submit a petition from the PSA calling on the government to honour its commitment to public servants over pay and conditions, and send in a survey of the thoughts of PSA members on the situation.

She claims the directive for her sacking came from the prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, who is also the acting Minister of Agriculture.

Ms 'Amanaki says other key executives of the PSA are also being targetted.

"They have been intimidating our members, threatening them that they would be dismissed from work because of our petition. Now, they're really acting, actually punishing the leaders of our PSA to frighten off our members not to partake in our movement or what we've been fighting for."

Mele 'Amanaki says she's appealed to cabinet to get her job back but is not hopeful because Dr Sevele is also the chair of cabinet.