15 Jun 2010

Five days into Tahiti general strike, no end in sight

3:39 pm on 15 June 2010

There is no end in sight to a general strike in French Polynesia after the latest encounter between the government and the striking groups failed to yield any result.

According to Tahitipresse, a delegation went to see the President, Gaston Tong Sang, but he told it that talks won't resume unless the blockade of the Papeete port is lifted.

The blockade, which has been in place since last week, has led to problems with the supply of gas and petrol.

The disturbances at Tahiti's international airport are expected to ease after the French high commission ordered striking firefighters to return to work.

Air Tahiti Nui says it expects to start clearing a backlog of thousands of tourists inconvenienced by the strike some time during the night.

Air New Zealand is reported to offer a service from Papeete to Rarotonga with a connection to Auckland because no direct flights are scheduled until later in the week.

At the weekend, the US consul chartered a small plane to Rarotonga to allow about 40 tourists to leave Tahiti.

The strike has been called to alert the authorities to job losses in the territory, with a demand that an unemployment insurance be set up.