The State Public Services Federation (SPSF), a union with nearly 120,000 members, recently voted to offer support to Tongan public servants for the formation of a public sector union after hearing of the recent six-week strike by Tonga public sector workers.
The SPSF is part of the largest public sector union in Australia, the Community and Public Sector Union, the CPSU.
The Federal Secretary of the CPSU-SPSF, David Carey, recently wrote to the interim committee for public service unions in Tonga pledging the support of the Australian public service union for the formation of a Tongan Public Service Association.
In his message to the Tongan interim union committee Mr Carey said :
“We write to tell you that you have support from the public service unions in Australia, both for the merit of your campaign and the desire to create a truly independent and viable union for public sector workers.
“We think you have taken a wonderful step towards, what is the aim of all of your Brothers and Sisters in Public Service Unions in Australia, that is, the establishment of Rights, Dignity and solidarity amongst all who work.”
CPSU-SPSF Secretary said that the union had been watching closely the developments in Tonga. The Public Sector union had contacts in the past with the Tongan public sector workers through the South Pacific and Oceania Council of Trade Unions (SPOCTU) and Public Services International (PSI) which represent trade Unions in the South Pacific and international public Services unions.
These two organizations, SPOCTU and PSI Oceania, had been reporting to the Australian unions on the developments in Tonga and the attempts to settle the recent dispute and strike.
David Carey said there are many Tongan workers in Australia and New Zealand. Many of those people are working in the Public Services of those countries. Many of them are actually members of our Public Sector Unions in Australia and in New Zealand.
Those unions are aware of the situation in Tonga and are very happy that there is unity and solidarity among the Public Sector workers in Tonga. Public Services unionists are glad to see other public servants in the South Pacific region become organised.
“We will give the Tongan Public Service workers every possible moral and practical support we can.”
Mr Carey said that it is important to have public servants organised in the union, not simply for their own sake and their working conditions.
“State public servants in Australia have long had viable and responsible trade Unions which have played a great the role in protecting the independence of the Public Service and maintaining the quality of the Services provided to the people “, said Mr Carey.
“Our Public Service union members are just as concerned about the quality of public services to the population. That is why we support the Quality Public Services Campaign of the PSI.”
“We wish the Tongan Public servants every success in what is a very grave and serious undertaking. It is in the interests of justice and dignity for the Tongan Public Servants themselves that they succeed, but, it is also more important in the long run for the services to the Tongan People. “
For more information about the strike go to: www.tongaonstrike.com/