8 Sep 2005

Samoa government indifference will lead to strike - doctor

4:22 pm on 8 September 2005

Samoa's General Practitioners Association says requests to the government for doctors to get better pay have fallen on deaf ears for such a long time that strike action appears inevitable.

Samoa's Medical Association said doctors in the public service will strike because the government won't move to meet its pay demands.

The association wants new doctors entering the service to have a starting salary of at least 11,000 US dollars.

Dr John Atherton General of the Practitioners Association says the government's inaction over salaries shows it doesn't value doctors.

Dr Atherton says doctors believe that their salaries are artificially kept to a minimum because of public service rules, which is unfair.

"You don't get teachers getting called out in at two o'clock in the middle of the night to do their teaching, but doctors are expected to do this. You should recognize that doctors are different, they offer a different range of services and this should be acknowledged. But because it would break the mould and upset the public service in general, that has always been resisted by the government."

Dr John Atherton, the secretary of Samoa's General Practitioners Association