19 Oct 2015

Tonga education staff claim bullying by the PM

7:22 am on 19 October 2015

The spokesperson of the committee presenting a petition to revoke the appointments of Tonga's Prime Minister as Minister for Education and Training, says both he and his Acting Minister 'Etuatu Lavulavu have been bullying staff.

Tonga's Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva arrives in PNG with Niue's Premier Toke Talagi for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in September 2015.

'Akilisi Pohiva has been accused of bullying and a lack of experience to run the Education Ministry. Photo: Koro Vaka'uta / RNZ

The petition, which is currently being sent around the country, is also calling for the removal of Mr Lavulavu from the Ministry.

'Emeli Pouvalu says staff are alleging nepotism by both the PM and Mr Lavulavu, who they say lack experience in the department and are abusing their power.

Ms Pouvalu says some staff members feel they've been damaged by Mr Pohiva and Mr Lavulavu's management of the department.

"They've been threatened and they are scared and they cannot function well. So they are not confident with their employment and its future."

'Emeli Pouvalu says the petition will be presented to the King on Tuesday.