9 Jul 2007

Tonga government defends Public Service Commissioners

9:39 am on 9 July 2007

The Tongan government has reiterated its support for the Public Service Commissioners despite calls from the Public Service Association for their resignations.

The PSA had demanded that the Commissioners resign because they were not independent from the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and had deprived civil servants of their benefits, badly implemented a redundancy scheme which adversly affected many schools and teachers; and lied about the permanency of the 60%, 70% and 80% pay scales established through an MOU with the Government.

The PSA is now calling on its members to withdraw their business from the commercial organisations the Commissioners work for, namely Westpac Bank of Tonga, Tonga Communications Corporation and Pacific Finance and its subsidiaries.

The Minister for Public Enterprises has reaffirmed that the appointment of the Commissioners is legal and binding and it is continuing.

In a statement the minister says the statutory role of the Commissioners has been discharged with appropriate authority, independence from Cabinet, and to the satisfaction of the Government.

Government has reviewed the PSA's allegations against the Commissioners and found that they are basically without foundation.