6 Aug 2009

Deal reached in New Caledonia to end strike and violence

11:29 am on 6 August 2009

An agreement has been signed in New Caledonia to end the nearly two week-long strike which led to nearly daily clashes and disruption across much of Noumea's industrial zone.

About 30 police were injured in the violence, in particular in the territory's north when the unrest spread this week, prompting France to ready more riot police to be dispatched to New Caledonia.

The deal to settle the dispute was signed overnight by the USTKE union and the domestic carrier Air Caledonie after mediation efforts by the territory's President, Philippe Gomes.

It will provides for pay for USTKE members while they were on strike, a demand earlier rejected by the airline management.

In May, the same dispute led to unionists storming the city's domestic airport, for which the USTKE leader has been jailed for a year.

The strike launched last week was aimed at in a bid to win his release from prison.