3 Aug 2004

Crisis team set up in New Caledonia in effort to resolve industrial action paralysing capital

10:47 am on 3 August 2004

The French high commission in New Caledonia has set up a crisis team as industrial action has paralysed much of the capital, Noumea.

Petrol and diesel pumps are no longer supplied because of a port blockade by members of the USTKE union.

Police were used to get access to containers of medication held up as part of the strike which has affected mining companies, air travel and rubbish collection.

The president, Marie Noelle Themereau, has issued a statement, saying the nature of the industrial dispute doesn't justify the blocking of the entire country.

She has named two people to talk to both sides.

The action was called by the Union of Kanak and Exploited workers who fear job losses at a local stevedoring company.