22 Jul 2005

1,000 gather in Tonga to kick off strike action

6:06 pm on 22 July 2005

About 1,000 public servants have gathered at a rally in the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa to protest against a hefty wage rise for senior public servants.

About 2,000 of the Kingdom's 5,000 public servants have gone on strike over the payments, and have called for all public servants to receive an increase.

The rally heard from Peoples' Representatives who have threatened to walk out of parliament next week in support of the cause.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says while the true impact of the indefinite strike action has not been realised yet, many government departments operations have been affected.

"I've seen students from government schools around Nuku'alofa they were not going to school because there were no teachers. I am also aware that the Customs Department are going on strike. That will give a question mark over whether any airline can be cleared. There are those from the Health Departement who are going on strike, particularly those in the lab,"

Tongan correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu.