27 May 2013

Lower prices settle New Caledonia general strike

7:27 am on 27 May 2013

A general strike in protest at the high cost of living in New Caledonia has ended after 12 days.

Local radio says an agreement was reached overnight to lower the price of 300 items.

After two days of negotiations under the leadership of the French High Commissioner, a protocol involving unions, the territorial government, Congress and private sector interest was signed.

The unions say they have ordered that all road blocks in the north of the main island be lifted today.

After blockading the port in Noumea and the fuel depots, virtually all petrol stations have run dry.

The strike, which began in the middle of May, saw thousands of people march territory-wide and caused intermittent disruption to large supermarkets, air travel and some schools.

The unions have for years called for economic and tax reforms as prices are on average a third higher than in France.