Tonga's public servants strike action cancelled

    A planned industrial action by Tonga’s public servants as part of an ongoing row over pay rise has been called off.

    Members of the Public Servants Association (PSA) were due to stage strike action next week beginning Monday 20 – one month before Tonga’s general election holds on November 27.

    In a statement, the PSA said its executive in a meeting on Friday last week had decided to “withdraw” the strike action claiming it was because the Minister of Justice, Hon. Clive Edwards announced the government will “declare Tonga as state of emergency if it reach to a stage that the strike goes ahead”

    “The priority to PSA is the safety of the public servants and their families as the Emergency Powers does not allow political meeting of 5 people or more and they can use the military to take them to prison without a warrant”, PSA’s Secretary General, Mele ‘Amanaki said in the statement.

    However in a statement issued to Kaniva News, Hon Clive Edwards denied government planned to declare emergency law or “issued any threats to anyone” if civil servants would go on strike.

    “It is unfortunate that the Minister of Justice has to deny the false allegations that Cabinet will activate Emergency Powers to prevent the Public Service from going on strike,” the statement says.

    The claim by PSA against the minister came after the minister was interviewed by Radio FM89.5 on Friday.

    Following the interview PSA released a statement through internet saying, “The Minister of Justice, Mr. Clive Edwards, confirmed to radio 89.5FM news today that Cabinet will activate the Emergency Powers! Cabinet will now resort to use guns to prevent the public servants from exercising their Constitutional Rights.”

    The PSA release, which was also sent to Radio 89.5FM, was quickly corrected by the Radio claiming it was “misleading” and “incorrect”.

    The managing director of the Radio, Katalina Tohi,  in an email to ‘Amanaki said: “…according to the minister government is prepared to provide needed services at any time during any strike even if  it’s needed to declare a state of emergency. I cannot interpret for the Minister’s comment and everyone is free for his or her own interpretations but my interpretation is calling for help like recruiting volunteers locally or internationally”.

    PSA

    The PSA demanded a 20 percent cost of living allowance (COLA) citing the 40 percent increase of the consumer price index since the last pay rise in 2005.

    In the government’s financial budget 2012/14 a 5 percent COLA was granted and 1 percent was granted in the 2014/15 budget.

    The PSA recommended 6-10% for the 2014/2015 to be paid in the 2015/2016 or 2016/2017 budgets in which cabinet refused to accept.

    The PSA claimed the government has failed in its responsibility to abide by the memorandum of understanding signed following the largest ever industrial action held in the country in 2005.

    “When resolving this strike, the Government agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with those who were on strike that the salaries will be reviewed every two years to avoid this problem from happening again. The Government did not abide by its promise”, the PSA statement says.

    Government

    The Secretary for Finance in a statement says the government does not have the money to financially meet the pay increase PSA demanded

    The Parliament passed a resolution in August 2014 allowing the government not to grant further higher COLA for the civil service because of its “tight fiscal situation in 2014/15”.

    The government agreed to talk with PSA authority and in October 3 Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu met with PSA team saying they would negotiate a deal that could satisfy both sides.

    On October 9 however the negotiators returned to the negotiation table but this time the government team which included the Finance Minister Hon. Dr ‘Aisake Valu Eke  told PSA the government has already done enough after it granted the 6 percent COLA in its budget 2013/14 and 2014/15.

    The PSA disagreed and threatened it would go on strike on October 20.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo kaniseli ‘ikai toe hoko atu ‘a e tukungāue ko ia naʻe fokotuʻutuʻu tuʻunga he kikihi ke fakahoko ha hiki vāhengá.

      Naʻe teuaki ke tukungāue ʻa e ʻAosieisini ʻa e Kau Ngāue Fakapuleʻangá (AKNGF) ʻi he uike kahaʻu ʻo kamata ʻi he ʻaho Mōnite 20 – māhina pe ʻeni ʻe taha pea fakahoko ʻa e fili lahi ko ia ʻa Tongá ʻi Nōvema ʻaho 27.

      ʻI ha siteitimeni mei he AKNGF naʻe pehē ai kuo tuʻutuʻuni ʻa ʻenau kōmiti pulé ʻi ha fakataha he Falaite uike kuo ʻosí ke taʻofi ʻa e tukungāue ‘o pehē tokua kuo fanongonongo ʻe he Minisitā Laó, ʻOnapolo Clive Edwards ʻe ngāueʻaki ʻe he puleʻangá ʻa e lao ki he ngaahi meʻa fakatuʻupakeé ʻo ka aʻu ki ha tuʻunga ʻe hoko ai pe ʻa e tukungāué.

      Naʻe toe pehē ʻi he siteitimeni ko ʻení ʻoku mahuʻingaʻia ʻa e AKNGF ʻi he malu ʻa e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá mo honau ngaahi fāmilí koeʻuhī he ʻo ka fakahā ʻe he puleʻangá kuó ne ngāueʻaki ʻa e lao fakatuʻupakeé ʻe ʻikai toe ngofua ha fakataha fakapolitikale ʻa ha kakai ʻe toko 5 honau tokolahí pe laka hake ai.

      Kaekehe ʻi ha siteitimeini ia ne tuku mai ki he Kanivá ne fakaʻikaiʻi ai ʻe ʻOnapolo Clive Edwards ha palani ʻa e puleʻanga ke ne ngāueʻaki ʻa e lao ki he ngaahi meʻa fakatuʻupakeé pe fakamanamanaʻi taha ʻo ka tukungāue ʻa e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá.

      ʻI heʻene laú ne ne pehē ai ko e meʻapango ia ko e pau ke fakaʻikaiʻi ʻe he Minisitā Laó mo e Fakamaauʻangá ʻa e tukuakiʻi ʻikai moʻoni ʻo pehē ʻe ngāueʻaki ʻe he puleʻangá ʻa e mafai ki he ngaahi meʻa fakatuʻupakeé ke taʻofiʻaki ʻa e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá ʻi haʻanau tukungāue.

      Naʻe fai e tukuakiʻi ʻo e minisitaá mo e puleʻangá ko ʻení ʻe he AKNGF hili ia hono ʻinitaviu ʻe he Letiō FM89.5 ʻa e minisitaá ni ʻi he ʻaho Falaité.

      Hili pe ʻa e ʻinitaviú ne tuku ange mai ʻe he AKNGF ʻenau fakamatala tuku atu he ʻinitanetí ʻo pehe ai kuo fakapapauʻi ki he ongoongo ʻa e Letiō FM 89.5 ʻe Clive Edwards he ʻaho ni ʻe ngāueʻaki ʻe he Kapinetí ʻa e Mafai ki he Ngaahi Meʻa fakatuʻupakeé. ʻE ala e kapinetí ke ngāueʻaki e meʻafaná ke taʻofi e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá mei hono fakahoko ʻa ʻenau totonu fakakonisitūtoné, ko e lau ia ne tuku mai mei he AKNGF

      Ko e fakamatala tukuange ko ʻeni ʻa e AKNGF ʻa ia ne toe ʻave ʻa hono tatau ki he Letiō 89.5 FM, ne matavave pe hono fakatonutonu hake ʻe he Letiō ʻo pehē ʻoku takihala mo ʻikai tonu e lau ʻa e AKNGF kau ki he’enau ‘initaviu ‘o e minisitaá.

      ʻI ha toe ʻīmeili ʻa e talēkita pule ʻo e Letioó ni, Katalina Tohi kia ʻAmanaki naʻá ne pehē, ko e fakamatala ʻa e minisitaá ne ne pehē ʻoku mateuteu ʻa e puleʻangá ke fakahoko ʻa e ngaahi fakahoko fatongia ʻoku fiemaʻú ʻi ha taimi pe lolotonga ha tukungāue tatau ai pe kapau ʻe fiemaʻu ke talaki kuo ngāueʻaki ʻa e Lao ki he ngaahi meʻa fakatuʻupakeé ki he fonuá. Pehē ʻe Tohi ʻe ʻikai ke ne fakaʻuhingaʻi ʻe ia ʻa e lea ʻa e minisitaá pea ʻoku tauʻatāina ʻa e taha kotoa ki haʻane fakaʻuhinga ka ko ʻene fakaʻuhinga ko ē ʻaʻaná naʻe ʻuhinga ʻa e minisitaá ʻe fai ʻa e ui tokoni hangē ko hano fakahū foʻou mai kau ngāue ʻofa ʻi Tonga pe mei tuʻapuleʻangá [ke fakakakato ʻa e ngaahi fatongiá ʻo ka tukungāue ʻa e kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá].

      Naʻe fiemaʻu ʻe he AKNGF ke fai ha fakalelei vāhenga pēseti ʻe 20 mkatuʻunga he ʻuhinga kuo ʻi he pēseti ʻe 40 e lahi ʻo e hikihiki koloá talu ʻa e hiki vāhenga fakamuimui ʻi he 2005.

      Naʻe foaki ʻe he puleʻangá ʻi heʻene patiseti fakapaʻanga 2013/14 ʻa e pēseti ʻe 5 fakalelei vāhenga pea foaki ʻa e pēseti ʻe 1 ʻi heʻene patiseti lolotongá ʻa ia ko e 2014/15.

      Naʻe fokotuʻu atu ʻe he PSA ʻa e fakalelei vāhenga pēseti ʻe 6-10 ke totongi ia ʻi he patiseti 2015/16 pe ʻi he 2016/17 ka ne ʻikai tali ia ʻe he puleʻangá.

      Naʻe pehē ʻe he PSA kuo ʻikai malava e fatongia ʻo e puleʻangá ke muimui ki he aleapau femahinoʻaki ne fefakamoʻoniʻaki hili ʻa e tukungāue lahi taha kuo fakahoko ʻi he fonuá ʻi he 2005.

      ʻI he hili ange hono solova e faingataʻa ne tuʻunga ai ʻa e tukungāue ko ʻení mo kinautolu ne nau tukungāué ne fai e aleapau ʻe vakaiʻi fakataʻu ua ʻe he puleʻangá ʻa e ngaahi vāhengá ke fakamamaʻo ha toe hoko ʻa e palopalema peheni. Kuo ʻikai faipau ʻa e puleʻangá ki heʻene palōmesí, ko e lau ia mei he AKNGF.

      Kuo pehē ʻe he Sekelitali ʻa e Falepaʻangá ʻoku ʻikai ha paʻanga ia ʻa e puleʻangá ke feauʻaki ʻa e hiki vāhenga ʻoku fiemaʻu ʻe he AKNGF.

      Naʻe paasi ʻe he Fale Aleá ha tuʻutuʻuni ʻi ʻAokosi ʻo fakamafaiʻi ʻa e puleʻangá ke ʻoua naʻa toe foaki ha toe fakalelei vāhenga lahi ange ki he kau ngāue fakapuleʻangá koeʻuhi ko e tuʻunga faingataʻa fakapaʻanga ʻoku ʻi ai ʻi he 2014/15.

      Naʻe iku loto e puleʻangá ke talanoa mo e AKNGF pea ʻi ʻOkatopa ʻaho 3 ne fakataha ai ʻa e Tokoni Palēmiá mo e PSA ʻo pehē ko ʻenau alea ʻeni ki ha tila ʻe fefiemālieʻaki ai ʻa e ongo faʻahí.

      Neongo iá ne toe foki ʻa e kau aleá ʻi ʻOkatopa ʻaho 9 ke hoko atu e tlangá ka ʻi he foʻi takai ko ʻení ne kau atu ai ʻa e Minisitā Paʻangá, ʻOnapolo Dr. ʻAisake Valu Eke ʻo fakahā ai ʻe he puleʻangá ia ki he AKNGF kuo ʻosi feʻunga pe ʻa e pēseti ʻe ono fakalelei vāhenga kuó ne ʻosi foaki ʻi he patiseti 2013/14 mo e 2014/15.

      Naʻe ʻikai loto ki heni ʻa e PSA pea ne nau fakamanamana te nau tukungāue kinautolu ʻi ʻOkatopa ʻaho 20.

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