5 Aug 2005

Tonga doctors and nurses join public servants' strike

10:14 am on 5 August 2005

Doctors and nurses in Tonga have voted to join other public servants who have been striking for a big lift in wages for the past two weeks.

Attempts to resolve the impasse yesterday failed with the government saying it would lift wages by up to 30 percent, but the workers want eighty percent.

The Government last night repeated on television that it cannot afford such payments but the interim Public Service Association, which is leading the action, believes it has the ability to pay.

Our correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu says most medical workers voted last night to join the strike.

"It is my understanding that some workers do not agree with the idea, but the majority of the health workers are going on strike today. There were just two divisions that joined the strike earlier, the lab and blood bank, but today the rest of the health workers including the doctors, the dentists and the nurses are going on strike."