15 Aug 2005

Public servants strike in Tonga impacting education and other services

7:05 pm on 15 August 2005

The strike by public servants in Tonga, which began more than four weeks ago, is reported to be having an increasing impact on government services.

Several thousand workers are striking for wage increases of up to 80 percent.

Our correspondent in Nuku'alofa, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the impact of the strike is most noticeable in the education sector with government schools still shut down, despite the new term scheduled to start on Monday last week.

"The parents refuse to send their children to school if there is no-one there to take care of them. It has also been hard and slow for those civil servants still working, the minority, to get paid. They haven't been paid on time. I am told that some of the business people say there is no trading and some like the computer service are considering shutting down until the dispute is resolved."

Meanwhile Air New Zealand, which flies into Tonga daily, says it is not experiencing any problems.