10 Aug 2005

Talk in Tonga that striking government workers will be sacked and replaced

10:22 am on 10 August 2005

Striking Tongan public servants waited into last evening outside the King's palace for a response from him over their demands for substantial pay rises.

Their demands had been presented to the King's daughter Princess Pilolevu Tuita on Monday after what has been called the biggest protest march in Tongan history, when more than ten thousand filled the streets of Nuku'Alofa.

The workers want substantial wage rises for all public servants and expected that the King would indicate where his support lay, but there was no response.

Meanwhile our correspondent in Tonga, Mateni Tapueluelu, says there are unconfirmed reports that the workers are about to be suspended.

".I have talked to some of the senior staff in government and they have told me that it is the talk that those going on strike, continuing on strike, will be dismissed and their posts readvertised."