19 Mar 2019

First day of open-ended public sector strike in New Caledonia

11:42 am on 19 March 2019

About 300 people have rallied outside the Congress of New Caledonia on the first day of an open-ended public sector strike.

New Caledonia Congress

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

They are demanding a 20 percent pay rise to cope with the high cost of living and what they say is a 20 percent loss of purchasing power over the past decade.

Post office employees, airport firefighters and a few teachers are among those on strike.

Members of other unions are expected to join the protest tomorrow and rally outside the Congress.

With provincial elections due in May, the unions want political parties to commit to upholding the purchasing power of public sector workers.

The strike applies to public sector workers on New Caledonia's payroll and not those of the French state.

Many post offices have closed and domestic flights have been cancelled as a result of the action.

On Friday, another demonstration is planned against plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

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