26 May 2009

Tonga public servants to forego pay rise in bid to retain services

2:39 pm on 26 May 2009

Public servants in Tonga say they don't want a 10 percent pay rise if the government has to cut back on vital services to pay for it.

The government has approved the pay adjustment as part of a review, that will also see entitlement to sick leave reduced from 48 days to 15 per year, and annual leave from 26 days to 20.

Mele Amanaki from the Public Servants Association says she's concerned that urgent needs won't be met if the pay increase comes out of the budgets of government ministries.

"You're telling the teachers, put the chalk in your purse, that's your 10 percent pay rise. Then you ask the parents to please give us more chalk to teach your kids. Or the nurses, put the plaster in their purse and then ask the patient, please give me some more money to buy some plaster for your wounds."

The secretary-general of the PSA, Mele Amanaki

The Public Service Commission says the pay rise will be paid for by the productivity gains that will come from having public servants at work more often.