15 Nov 2005

Deadline for striking doctors to return to work passes in Samoa

8:09 am on 15 November 2005

A deadline's just passed in Samoa, for striking doctors to return to work.

The Samoa Observer quotes the prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, as saying that the government has given the doctors until eight am local time today to return to their jobs.

The prime minister didn't say what would happen if the doctors refused.

Tuilaepa said there were many options available to the government.

The newspaper quotes government sources saying that one of the options open to the government is to take disciplinary actions under Public Service Commission regulations, and dismissal is one option.

The president of the Samoa Medical Association, Doctor Mauinu'uese Imo, described the cabinet's decision as disappointing.

Cabinet is sticking to its earlier decision not to increase the starting salary of doctors.

The prime minister said doctors' salaries were already higher than any other profession and cabinet had decided that there was no need for further increases.

Tuilaepa said that decision was final and government wouldn't accept any future proposals.

The Samoa Medical Association has asked cabinet to increase the entry salary of doctors to US$12,000.