10 Nov 2006

Longest media strike in New Caledonia ends

3:21 pm on 10 November 2006

A seven-month strike at New Caledonia's public broadcaster has ended after the USTKE union and the broadcaster, RFO, signed an agreement.

The strike, the longest at RFO New Caledonia, began in March in a bid to win the re-instatement of a sacked technician, Rock Haocas, who was dismissed after a court found him guilty of assaulting a cameraman during a 100-day strike at the station in 2004.

The strike was observed by a minority of the staff but intermittent blockades forced RFO's television news production off site.

A union representative, Pierre Chauvat, says after lengthy negotiations, a solution has been found.

"An agreement was signed with RFO Paris and the USTKE, which makes the end a seven-month strike and where Mr Haocas has finally got a new training in an other company, specialised in his area, and at the end of his training, which will last eight months or a year, he will he will come back and work as an engineer at another company."

Mr Chauvat says Mr Haocas has agreed to work outside the media sector.

RFO's manager, Benoit Saudeau, confirms that the agreement was signed and says local broadcasts will be back to normal from Monday.