20 Apr 2006

15,000 people march in New Caledonia strike

4:07 pm on 20 April 2006

At least 15,000 people in New Caledonia have marched to the government and the congress buildings to protest against the high cost of living.

The march in Noumea was part of a 24 hour strike jointly called by several trade unions.

The action involves the civil servants and the USOENC union and will affect the international airport in Noumea and various businesses.

Our correspondent, Tuo Chinula says marches have been organised across the territory.

"In addition to the march there are also other sectors of society which will be affected - for example - international and domestic flights - their schedules have been disrupted - the same goes for bus schedules and other sectors of society - that the education sector and banks and various industries."

Our Correspondent in New Caledonia, Tuo Chinula.

The government has scheduled an initial meeting with the unions for next week and will look at possible reforms to reduce the prices of certain goods.

But the president, Marie-Noelle Themereau, said it would take weeks and even months to find a solution.

The united unions have threatened further industrial action if the government does not act quickly.