28 Sep 2006

Protest march planned in New Caledonia

5:56 am on 28 September 2006

The Federation of New Caledonian Workers Union and government members have failed to find a solution to

end the general strike affecting New Caledonia.

The two parties met yesterday to try and work out an agreement.

New Caledonia's president, Marie-Noelle Themereau, says the union's demands were unrealistic.

The demands include: measures, such as price cuts, to counter the high cost of living and the repatriation of several hundred Filipino workers employed by the Goro Nickel mining company.

The union has been on strike since Monday.

Yesterday afternoon police removed demonstrators blocking access to fuel depots which had caused fuel shortages throughout the country.

A fuel tanker under police escort, left immediately for the international airport where there were concerns Air Caledonie Internationale, New Caledonia's international airline, would have to cancel flights due to a lack of fuel.

Unionists are continuing their siege on the Goro Nickel headquarters in Noumea and have also disrupted activity at the company's nickel plant construction site.

Today, the union has planned a protest march in Noumea which is likely to cause significant traffic congestion.