11 Aug 2005

International workers' federation raising cash for striking workers in Tonga

8:12 am on 11 August 2005

The South Pacific and Oceanic Council of Trade Unions says its affiliates are giving financial support for striking public workers in Tonga.

The council's secretary, Mike Ingpen, represents Union National Centres from 16 Pacific countries including Australia and New Zealand.

The international federation of trade unions, Public Services International, wants striking public servants in Tonga to become a formal union.

Mike Ingpen, as Oceania regional secretary of Public Services International, says he talked last night to the chairman of the Interim-Public Servants Association in Tonga, Finau Tutone.

Mr Ingpen says they discussed the resurrection of a constitution for a Public Servants association, which was drafted in 1989 but never acted on.

Mr Ingpen says the Tonga Public Services aren't a member of the federation but they discussed what help could be given after the dispute has been settled.

The PSI is keen to see a public sector union in Tonga and Mr Ingpen hopes that it will be involved with PSI in the future.

PSI has one affiliate in Tonga which is the Nurses Association.