14 Sep 2005

Cook Islands nurses wait to hear outcome of pay demands

1:06 pm on 14 September 2005

Nurses in the Cook Islands are waiting to hear whether the government will grant them their wage demands.

The Nurses Association called off a planned nationwide strike last month after the Health Ministry agreed to several of their demands.

The Cook Islands News reports that the secretary for health, Vaine Teokotai, has put forward a proposed supplementary budget, including the pay rise, for discussion at a cabinet meeting today.

Mr Teokotai says his ministry won't know until after the cabinet meeting whether their proposal has been approved or not.

The Cook Islands Nurses Association, says they want to be paid salaries that are in line with the salary banding of all government agencies.

They also want the re-introduction of penal rates, and for vacancies to be filled- as they're short-staffed.

The campaigner for political reform, Elizabeth Ponga, says health workers in the Cooks may be encouraged by recent strikes in Tonga.

"People aren't happy about the money they're getting. Now they're watching Tonga there, and they're looking that's what Tonga has to do to get attention. Surely one of these days they're going to do the same thing."