31 Aug 2005

Tongan strikers snub Australia offer of mediation help

9:16 am on 31 August 2005

Striking civil servants in Tonga have rejected attempts by Australia to offer mediation and financial analysis.

A New Zealand mediation team that had flown to the Tonga went home at the weekend after the strike committee refused to take part in talks.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, says the strike committee has indicated it doesn't wish to pursue mediation efforts at this stage.

The strike committee wants its demand of a 60 to 80 per cent pay rise to be met on an interim basis before it will take part in mediation.

It's also demanding political reforms in Tonga.

Rubbish is piling up, medical services are paralysed and schools have been disrupted as the strike by thousands of civil servants, health workers and teachers drags into its sixth week.