12 Jun 2006

USTKE awaits talks on New Caledonia port conflict

3:33 pm on 12 June 2006

The New Caledonian USTKE union says it is suspending its strike action and is now focusing on solving the port conflict.

The union took over part of the port in Noumea and blockaded a ship of the MSC shipping company because it is opposed to multi-national shipping companies setting up services to Noumea.

Police broke the port blockade last Thursday and detained and charged about a dozen people, among them USTKE president, Gerard Jodar.

The union called for a general strike as a consequence, but stopped its action after Mr Jodar was released.

USTKE representative, Pierre Chauvat, says the union is now waiting for negotiations to start.

"Now we are putting all our efforts this week to start real talks, real discussions, to solve the port conflict. Otherwise we will maybe go again on a strike somewhere else or in another section of the country."

Pierre Chauvat

The New Caledonian government says it is organising a commission, that will include some experts from France, to find a solution.