10 Aug 2005

Tongan government suggests auditor should reassess wage claims of striking civil servants

3:30 pm on 10 August 2005

The Tongan government says an auditor should be brought in from abroad to look at the wage claims by public servants who have been on strike for nearly three weeks.

This was announced at a rally in Nuku'alofa which had been awaiting a reply from the king following unprecedented marches to press for massive pay increases.

A petition called for all public servants to get rises of up to 80 percent while the government has offered up to 30 percent.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the royal reaction came from the prime minister who is the king's son.

"The king has directed that an independent company be brought from overseas, like an independent auditor, to look into the complaints by the civil servants and have an independent account of who is right with regard to the figures they are arguing over."

Mateni Tapueluelu