13 Oct 2006

New Caledonian union makes new threat after police action

2:39 pm on 13 October 2006

The leader of New Caledonia's CSTNC union, Sylvain Nea, has warned of a sharp response to today's action by the police riot squad which broke up a union blockade of the SLN nickel smelter in Noumea.

Mr Nea says there will be no more nickel leaving the plant next week and warns that SLN should prepare a shut-down of its furnaces in response to the police action.

The police acted before dawn to end the siege of SLN which had been blockaded since the beginning of last week and reportedly losing one million US dollars a day because of missed production.

The CSTNC has been on strike for the past three weeks and has mainly targeted the nickel sector, but none of its demands relate to the SLN company.

The CSTNC is demanding the immediate departure of Filipino workers employed by the Goro Nickel mining company, the immediate construction of a nickel smelter in the north of New Caledonia and measures to reduce the high cost of living.

Kanak opponents of the Goro project plan to meet tomorrow to decide on further action against it.