20 Oct 2014

Tonga public servant strike called off

12:38 pm on 20 October 2014

Hundreds of public servants in Tonga have called off their strike today because the government said it would declare a state of emergency.

More than 600 Public Service Association members agreed to take action unless the government agreed to a 22 percent cost of living adjustment paid to workers over the next two years.

The PSA secretary general, Mele Amanaki, says under emergency powers, the government would be able to use the military to dissolve any political gathering of more than five people.

She says the PSA is concerned about the safety of its members.

"They've got the authority to tell the army to enter the homes of our members or the public servants and take them to prison if they think there would be any riots. Therefore that's why we [have] withdrawn the strike."

Mele Amanaki says the government could also use the emergency powers to postpone the general election planned for November.