26 May 2003

Pension dispute continues in New Caledonia

12:39 pm on 26 May 2003

Fresh negotiations in New Caledonia to settle a dispute over pensions have yet to yield results.

Earlier this month, four public sector unions paralysed much of the administration and the high schools for several days to press for comprehensive retirement provisions.

The government has restarted talks but says the pension fund had a deficit of 30 million US dollars last year.

It says it will negotiate until Wednesday when it will make its position known.

But a union spokesman says what is being offered is unacceptable and he warned that the territory could be brought to a standstill when French leaders, including President Jacques Chirac, are due for visits in June and July.