28 Jul 2005

Tongan government rejects strikers' petition

2:15 pm on 28 July 2005

Tonga's government has told hundreds of striking state workers that their demands for payrises won't be met.

A parliamentarian has told people at a rally in the capital, Nuku'alofa, that MPs can't accept the petition by the interim Public Servants Association.

This reverses an earlier move in which parliament passed a resolution calling for the Cabinet to implement the civil servants' demands.

The strikers want a salary increase of 60 per cent for the top echelon of the public service, 70 per cent for the middle layer, and 80 per cent for the lower level.

The government says it doesn't have the money to implement the demands.

It says it can increase the salary of certain selected posts within the government but they can't follow the strikers' specific demands.