To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines.
First Published: 9th April – 1981
The Prime Minister, Tupuola Efi, in his address – the nation speech last night delivered in Samoan over the 2AP gave the explanation that the Public Service Association (PSA) request for a further salary increase of 15 per cent was not a matter for Cabinet to decide.
He gave the view that since the matter was a continuation of an earlier request presented to the Legislative Assembly by a PSA demonstration late last year, it should again be given for the House consideration.
He said the matter ceased to be a Cabinet concern when it was presented to the House. “It was done with the wish of the PSA”.
Tupuola went on the air to state government’s stand on the PSA strike. It was the first public announcement by government that a PSA strike has indeed taken place. The strike which started from Monday has not been reported on by the state-owned radio station, the 2AP.
It has, however, been commented on by overseas radio stations and the press.
The New Zealand Herald ran a front page story on the PSA strike this week saying that the 2AP was not carrying news of the strike.
But the strike which is planned for an indefinite period has managed in just three days to cripple the telecommunication service provided by the Post Office (see other story) and raised concern among the authorities in other government departments.
Some of the departments which have been shut down since Monday other than the Post Office are the Labour Department, the Lands and Survey Department, the Statistical Department, the Justice Department, the Lands and Survey Department and the Lands and Titles Court.
Although some of these departments were virtually empty on PSA’s first day of the strike, some of the employees have gone back, to work.
Before the strike began, public servants were warned about certain disciplinary action that might be brought against them.
These warnings were again made after the strike had taken off reports say.
In his speech, however, Tupuola said of the PSA request that the “government and the Legislative Assembly have already done their work.” He said this was done with the view for the welfare of all people of Samoa in mind.
The PSA last year sought a salary increase of about 22 percent to counteract the cost of living. Only 8 percent was granted. Not satisfied, the PSA requested another 15 percent from government giving a deadline for a reply, after the PSA executed its strike, Cabinet and departmental heads of government met on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
Details of that meeting have not been made public. But the Prime Minister last night in his speech did not say whether or not the PSA request would be granted.