Free Wesleyan director opposes strike threat; tells public servants: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

    A senior member of the largest Methodist denomination in Tonga said the people should show their “disapproval” of the Public Service Association’s planned strike.

    Rev. Dr. Tevita Tonga Mohenoa Puloka of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga said a strike would be a serious blow to the civil servants and Tonga’s fragile economy.

    The PSA has demanded the government approve a 20-22 percent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for all government employees.

    The Association wants the government pay an initial  cost of living allowance of between six and 10 percent out of the Contingency Vote of the 2014/2015 Budget.

    If its demands are not met, PSA members will go on strike  Monday, October 20.

    The government says the strike action won’t work as most civil servants do not support it.

    Dr Puloka said the Tongan people represented about 97 percent of those who rightfully owned the national resource, including revenues the government “managed” and “distributed for the public good.”

    “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, for without the people of Tonga you won’t have a job,” Dr Puloka said.

    “Those of us who are not paid by Government, yet are doing the same or even more and better services for the country must register our disapproval of this PSA threat of a strike against us, the people of Tonga.”

    Democratic Party Leader ‘Akilisi Pohiva and the Democratic Party have already called for the industrial action to be postponed, fearing it might affect the general election next month.

    The party said it did not support the strike because it would affect the upcoming election and students who are going to sit the Tongan National School Certificate.

    Government

    The Tongan government said it could not afford another increase in civil servants’ pay within the approved 2014/15 budget estimates.

    “The additional pay increase that some civil servants insist on being granted from this financial year will cost millions the Government does not have and cannot afford,” Tonga’s Finance Secretary, Tatafu Moeaki said.

    “With less than two months to go before our next election, further COLA and pay increases, which will costs millions of pa’anga should be placed before the next Government to consider taking into account the economic and financial situation of the country for the short, to medium and long term.”

    The government considered that further COLA payments to government civil servants would affect salaries for private sectors, especially school teachers.

    Moeaki said: “The same applies to those employees serving outside Government such as teachers.

    “Any pay raise for Government teachers without any contribution to those teachers in church schools for example, would be contrary to respecting the rights of each and every citizen of Tonga.

    “Those workers in the business community and church schools are going to have a very hard time swallowing the idea that Government employees are entitled to a higher cost of living allowance and a higher pay increase.”

    PSA Demands

    The PSA wants the Tongan Government to approve a 20-22 percent COLA for all employees in Government.

    The demand is based on figures calculated by Tongan Reserve Bank CEO Dr. Ngongo Kioa.

    It wants an immediate allowance of between six and 10 percent to be paid from the Contingency Vote of the 2014/2015 Budget.

    The rest of the allowance should be paid in the 2015/2016 budget, the PSA said.

    The Association claimed the Minister for Finance had recommended a six percent COLA to be added to the basic salary.

    However, it said the Minister had told a meeting on Wednesday last week that a five percent allowance was already being paid in the 2013/2014 budget and a new one percent allowance would come in the 2014/2015 budget.

    The PSA said it refuted the Finance Minister’s statement and was preparing to go on strike, but was still open to negotiation.

    Kaniva News Comment

    The threat of strike action does not have the full power of the support of the public as it did when  industrial action took place in 2005.

    Critics charge that the PSA’s strike threat is politically motivated because some in the PSA body are running for Parliament in the upcoming election.

    The strike action threat has split PSA members and their supporters.

    Many people say the strike has not been well planned and the timing is unwise.

    The government understands the PSA’s threat has not been supported by the majority of the people.

    The Deputy Prime Minister has been heard bragging that the PSA can go ahead and strike because  the government will not back down.

    He said the Government needed more time for negotiation.

    The PSA said it wants the TP$96 million (US$49 million/NZ$62 million) worth of Chinese loan money given to Princess Pilolevu and Tongasat to be returned to the government to help pay for the cost of living allowance.

    The main points

    • Dr. Tevita Tonga Mohenoa Puloka of the Free Wesleyan Church says a threatened strike by Tonga’s Public Service Association would be a serious blow to the kingdom’s fragile economy.
    • The PSA has demanded the government approve a 20-22 percent Cost of Living Allowance for all government employees.
    • If its demands are not met, PSA members will go on strike tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15.
    • Democratic Party Leader ‘Akilisi Pohiva and the Democratic Party have already called for the industrial action to be postponed, fearing it might affect the general election next month.

    For more information

    Tonga Unable To Pay Higher COLA For Public Sector (Radio New Zealand International)

    COLA for civil servants (Tonga Daily News)

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo pehē ʻe ha taha mēmipa māʻolunga ʻi he vaʻa lahi taha ʻo e Siasi faka-Metotisí ʻi Tongá ʻoku totonu ke fakahā ʻe he kakaí ʻoku ʻikai ke nau tali ʻa e tukungāue ko ʻeni ʻoku palaní.

      Kuo pehē ʻe Faifekau Dr Tēvita Tonga Mohenoa Puloka ʻo e Siasi Uēsiliana ʻo Tongá ko e fuʻu tā oʻo ʻa e tukungāue ko ʻeni ki he kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá mo e ʻekonōmika lavelaveili ʻa Tongá.

      ʻOku tuʻutuʻuhau atu e PSA ki he puleʻangá ke tali ʻa e pēseti ʻe 20-22 fakalelei vāhenga ki he kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá kotoa.

      ʻOku fiemaʻu ʻe he kautahá ni e puleʻangá ke ʻuluaki totongi ʻa e fakalelei vāhenga peseti ʻe ono ki he 10 mei he paʻanga ʻoku ʻi he vouti ki he ngaahi meʻa fakatuʻupakeé i he patiseti 2014/15

      Ka ʻikai tali ʻa e tuʻutuʻuhau atu ko ʻení ʻe tukungāue ʻa e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá he Monite ko ‘eni 20 ‘o ʻOkatopá.

      ʻOku pehē ʻe he puleʻangá ʻe ʻikai ngāue ʻa e tukungāue ia ko ʻení he ʻoku ʻikai poupouʻi ia ʻe he tokolahi taha ʻo e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá.

      Pehē ʻe Dr Puloka ko e kakaí ʻoku nau fakafofongaʻi ʻa e peseti ʻe 97 ʻo kinautolu ʻoku ʻa e totonu ki he ngaahi koloa fakafonuá kau ai ʻa e paʻanga ʻoku levaʻi mo vahevahe ki he lelei ʻa e kakaí ʻe he puleʻangá.

      ʻOua te mou uʻu ʻa e nima ʻokú ne fafanga kimoutolú, he ʻo ka ʻikai ʻa e kakai ʻo Tongá ʻe ʻikai haʻamou ngāue, ko e lau ia ʻa Puloká.

      Ko e niʻihi ʻo kitautolu ko ē ʻoku ʻikai vahe mei he puleʻangá, ka ʻoku tau fai ʻa e ngāue tatau pe ʻoku toe laka pe lelei ange ia maʻa e fonuá ʻoku totonu ke tau talaki fakahāhā ʻa e ʻikai ke tau tui ki he fakamanamana tukungāue ko ʻeni ʻa e PSA ʻo fakafepaki kia kitautolu, ʻa e kakai ʻo Tongá.

      Kuo ui ʻa e Taki ʻo e Paati Temokalatí, ʻAkilisi Pōhiva mo e Paati Temokalatí ke toloi atu ʻa e tukungāué he te ne uesia ʻe ia ʻa e teu fili ko ʻeni ʻi he māhina kahaʻú.

      Kuo pehē ʻe he paati ʻoku ʻikai ken au poupouʻi ʻa e tukungāué he ʻe uesia ai mo e fānau ako ʻoku nau teu sivi ʻa e Tohi Fakafmoʻoni Ako TNSC.

      Puleʻanga:

      Kuo pehē ʻe he puleʻangá ʻe ʻikai te ne toe lava ke fua ha fakalelei vāhenga ʻi loto ʻi he ʻesitimeti ko ʻeni kuo ʻosi tali 2014/15.

      Ko e toe hiki fakalahi ko ʻeni ʻoku vilitaki ki ai ʻa e niʻihi ʻo e kau ngāue fakapuleʻanga te ne tānaki fakataʻu mai ʻa e lau miliona he taʻu fakapaʻanga kotoa ka ʻe ʻikai lava ia ʻe he puleʻanga, ʻo fakatatau ʻeni kia Tatafu Moeaki ko e Sekelitali Paʻanga ʻa e Fale Paʻangá.

      ʻOku toe pe māhina ʻe ua pea fai ʻa e fili pea ko e toe lau miliona ko ʻeni ʻe tanaki mai ʻo ka fai ʻa e fakalelei vahenga ni ʻoku tonu ke tuku atu ia ki he puleʻanga hoko mai ken au fakakaukauʻi.

      Naʻe toe pehē ʻe Tatafu ko e fakalelei vāhenga ko ʻeni ʻoku fai hono kikihiʻi ʻe toe hoko ko e kavenga foki ki he ngaahi sekitoa kehē hangē ko e kau faiako he ngaahi akoʻanga ʻikai puleʻangá.

      Ko e meʻa ʻe hoko ko e to kehekehe ai pe tuʻunga vahengá pea ʻoku mole ai ʻa e totonu ʻa e kaungaue fakalukufua ʻo e fonuá tatau e ngaue fakapuleʻanga mo e ʻikai fakapuleʻanga ke maʻu ha vahenga ʻoku vāvā tataú.

      Ko e meʻa ʻe hoko ko e nofo ai pe ʻa e kau ngaue ʻikai ʻi he puleʻanga ʻo folofolouʻa mai ki he fuʻu vāhenga ʻo kinautolu ʻi he puleʻangá.

      Fiemaʻu ʻa e PSA:

      Kuo fiemaʻu ʻe he PSA ke totongi leva ʻe he puleʻanga ʻa e fakalelei vāhenga peseti ʻe 20 ki he 22 ki he kau ngāue fakapuleʻanga kotoa pe.

      Ko e fiemaʻu ko ʻeni ʻoku makatuʻunga ʻi he ngaahi fika ne fikaʻi ʻe Dr Ngongo Kioa ko e CEO ʻa e Pangike Pule Fakafonuá.

      ʻOku fiemaʻu ke ʻuluaki totongi ʻe he puleʻangá ʻa e peseti ai ʻe ono mo e 10 ʻo toʻo mai ia mei he vouti fakatuʻupakeé 2014/15.

      Oku pehē ʻe he kautahá ni naʻe ʻi ai e faleʻi ʻa e minisitā paʻangá ki ha fakalelei vāhenga pēseti ʻe ono ke tānaki ki he tefitoʻi vāhengá.

      Neongo ia ne tala ʻe he minisitaá ia ki ha fakataha he Pulelulu uike kuo ʻosí kuo ʻosi tānaki ʻa e pēseti ia ʻe nima ki he vāhenga ʻo e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá ʻi he patiseti 2013/14 pea ʻe toki ʻomai ʻa e peseti ʻe taha he taʻu foʻoú.

      Kuo fakafepakiʻi ʻe he PSA e lau ʻa e minisita paʻangá mo ne pehē kuo nau teuteu ken au tukungāue ka ʻoku nau kei ʻatā pe ki ha talanoa.

      Ko e vakai ʻeni ʻa e Kaniva:

      Ko e fakamanamana tukungāue ko ʻení ʻoku ʻikai ke ne maʻu ʻa e ivi kakato ʻo e poupou ʻa e kakaí ʻi he tukungāue ne fakahoko he 2005.

      ʻOku pehē ʻe he kau fakaangá ko e fakamana tukungāue ko ʻeni ʻoku taka ʻalu fakapolitilale koeʻuhi ʻoku ʻi ai ʻa e niʻihi ʻi he sino pule ʻo e PSA ʻoku kanititeiti ki he fili Fale Alea ko ʻení.

      ʻOku mavaeua e kau poupou mo mēmipa PSA ʻi he foʻi fakamanamana tukungāue ko ʻení.

      Kuo mahino ia ki he puleʻangá ʻoku ʻikai maʻu ʻe he fakamanamana tukungāue ia ko ʻeni ʻa e PSA e loto ʻo e tokolahi taha ʻo e kakaí.

      Kuo ongona e lea pōlepole ia ʻa e Tokoni Palēmiá ʻo ne pehē ko e meʻa pe ia ʻa e PSA ke hoko atu ʻenau tukungāue pea fakahoko koeʻuhi ʻe ʻikai tukulolo e puleʻangá ia.

      Naʻa ne pehē ʻe ia ʻoku fiemaʻu ʻe he puleʻangá ia ha toe taimi lahi ange ke fai ai ha alea.

      Naʻe pehē ʻe he PSA ʻoku nau fiemaʻu ʻa e paʻanga e $96 miliona ʻo e tokoni ʻa Siaina ki Tonga ka ne foaki ki he Tongasat mo Pilinisesi Pilolevú ke fakafoki mai ia ki he puleʻangá ke tokoni ki hono totongi ʻo e fakalelei vāhengá.

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