8 Jun 2006

New Caledonian union calls general strike next week

4:08 pm on 8 June 2006

The Kanak USTKE Union in New Caledonia has called for a general strike next week in a challenge to an international shipping company, MSC.

The union has been in a dispute with MSC which has one of its vessel blocked in the port of Noumea amid a union demand that its freight volume be restricted by a quota.

MSC has already said it will take France to a European court over the way its vessel has been treated in Noumea.

The union has dismissed concerns that Noumea could become a blacklisted port over the lack of police, with its leader saying there is no need to exaggerate as all other ships can move freely.

An USTKE representative, Pierre Chauvat says it regrets the lack of negotiations with MSC but denies the union is trying to blackmail either MSC or the government.

"We are not trying to blackmail, we're not trying to blackmail anyone. We are just saying that we have to take rules [which] has to protect everyone in this country not to destablise what's existing now, that's all."

An USTKE representative, Pierre Chauvat, says talks are continuing with the government