4 Aug 2005

Tongan strikers hope for agreement despite unsuccessful meeting

2:28 pm on 4 August 2005

The Interim Public Servants Association in Tonga has failed to reach an agreement with the government despite another meeting this morning in a bid to settle a strike.

Nearly 3-thousand workers have been on striking for almost two weeks in protest at a hefty payrise for senior public servants and calling for raises of their own.

The Secretary of the Interim PSA, Vuna Fa'otusia, says the two sides remain at odds over the workers' demands for raises of up to 80 percent.

However he says a discussion with Finance Secretary, Aisake Eke, has given them some hope.

"We got a hold of the secretary of finance, just to work on numbers. So he agreed about 40 percent and 25 percent, 15 percent, something like that. And then by next July again another 40 percent, 25 percent, 15 percent, something like that. Those are the options now open to us so that is why we are here with the committee members to work on our options, but 80 percent to us is non-negotiable."

Mr Fa'otusia says the two groups are meeting again tonight.