1 Dec 2005

Indefinite strike in French Polynesia fails to get expected support

5:13 pm on 1 December 2005

An indefinite general strike is under way in French Polynesia in a move against the government's fiscal reforms.

The so-called Solidarity project provides for changes to the social security system which in recent days have been become increasingly controversial.

The strikers are now at the presidential palace for talks with President Oscar Temaru.

Claude Marere, who is the communications director for the government, says the turnout in Papeete was relatively low.

"They said they would be 5,000, 10,000 but what the police have counted they were no more than 3,000, maybe 2,500. That's not a success, not at all. After the end of the negotiations, Oscar made a very good speech."

Mr Marere says many people in the private sector didn't heed the strike call.

The opposition declined comment about the strike and the reform programme which is a key element of the budget that is to be discussed tomorrow.