13 Jan 2012

Tonga's public servants threaten industrial action over retirement fund

12:41 pm on 13 January 2012

Public servants in Tonga say they will go on strike if they can't get a resolution to grievances over retirement fund money.

The body which represents Tonga's 2,800 public servants says the rising cost of living means many are suffering financially and they want to be able to access half the money they have put into the government-run pension scheme.

The Retirement Fund Board has instead offered short-term loans which most members have taken up

The Secretary-General of the Public Service Association, Mele Amanaki, says the Retirement Fund Board has turned down the PSA's request for a final time, and public servants now plan to go to the Public Service Commission and petition the King.

But she says the PSA has pledged to do its best to prevent action like the six-week public servants strike of 2005.

"I think everybody here in Tonga would want to avoid that and that's why we want a meaningful, peaceful negotiation. But I think the process through the Public Service Grievances and Dispute Procedures would allow that process to take place."

Mele Amanaki says fears the retirement fund may be depleted by the PSA's request are not justified.