The Public Service Association of Tonga says the Retirement Fund Board's announcement that public servants can now access 50 percent of their retirement fund entitlements is misleading.
The Secretary-General of the PSA, Mele Amanaki, says there has been no changes to what was approved late last year, in response to the PSA petition requesting funds be released for hardship purposes.
"What they approved in November - we were able to access our 50 percent but only to be paid to commercial banks. And what they have just approved on January 12 is just to include the payment of school fees. What we are petitioning for is to give us the 50 percent to our hands so that we can make our own payments of our accounts and loans."
Mele Amanaki says hardship is different from one public servant to the next.
She says the bulk of public servants doesn't have loans with commercial banks, but smaller financial institutions, which they are unable to pay off with the 50 percent.