14 Sep 2005

Cook Islands nurses expect to hear outcome of their pay demands this week

9:12 pm on 14 September 2005

Nurses in the Cook Islands expect to hear this week whether the government will grant them their wage demands.

The Nurses Association called off a planned nation-wide 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, to be discussed at Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

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

The Cook Islands Nurses Association, or CINA, says they want to be paid salaries that are in line with the salary banding of all government agencies, the re-introduction of penal rates, and for vacancies to be filled as they're short staffed.

CINA's president, Liz Iro, says they will be closely monitoring the government's actions in regard to this.

Meanwhile the campaigner for political reform, Elizabeth Ponga, says public 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."