29 Aug 2005

Tongan government says it may offer more to strikers

12:50 pm on 29 August 2005

The Tongan government says it may be willing to offer more than it has previously to striking public servants.

The strike has entered its sixth week after a New Zealand delegation, led by retired judge Tom Goddard, was unable to help the two sides reach an agreement.

The workers are calling for pay rises of up to 80 percent, with the government's offer of 30 percent being refused.

However the Governor of Vava'u, 'Akau'ola, says the government could afford a higher offer if need be.

"I'm sure we can push a little beyond 30 percent if that was going to be satisfactory to them but I think they also need to reconsider their position as to where we are trying to get to."

However 'Akau'ola says he doesn't know any country that could provide pay rises of up to 80 percent to its public service apart from some oil-rich countries in the middle east.