27 Apr 2005

Frenchman forced out of New Caledonia job

8:20 pm on 27 April 2005

Unionists in New Caledonia have forced a Frenchman to resign from an administration job for a local person to be employed instead.

The secretary general of the townhall in Poum, Frederic Mourgeon, has quit his post after being threatened and asked to leave.

The unionists have besieged the townhall for a week in their campaign to oust Mr Mourgeon, who moved to New Caledonia five years ago.

The mayor of Poum, who is a pro-independence politician, has denounced the action as racist.

Earlier this month, another Frenchman was forced to resign in a similar dispute in Thio.

The 1998 Noumea accord calls for jobs to be preferrably given to those who are long term residents.