14 Nov 2005

New Caledonia's main nickel company due to be hit by strike action

7:30 am on 14 November 2005

New Caledonia's main nickel company, SLN, is to be hit by an indefinite strike as of this morning.

The Council of the New Caledonian Unions is to tighten action at the territory's only nickel smelter in Noumea in protest at the dismissal of two employees.

SLN has suffered production losses in recent weeks amid a range of protests, blockades and and strikes that have slowed the delivery of ore for the smelter.

Last week, SLN's management said the operation of the furnaces had been reduced to an operational minimum because supplies were only guaranteed for another three weeks.

The labour unrest has also prompted the Employers Federation in New Caledonia to express its disquiet about the social climate in the territory.