23 Oct 2007

Some cement released in crippling New Caledonia strike

1:50 pm on 23 October 2007

Building is happening again in New Caledonia despite ongoing industrial action at its only cement factory.

A month-long strike by just 14 workers at the Holcim plant brought the territory's construction industry to a near standstill, and put thousands of jobs at risk.

A spokesman for the Union of Kanak and Exploited Workers, Pierre Chauvat, says although they're still striking, the workers are running the factory at night.

He says they have also released 2,000 tonnes of cement that were in stock.

"Production is going on at night by the strikers. There were many unemployed workers due to the strike, so we decided to release cement so that the bulk of the builders can go on working."

Pierre Chauvat says an official from the Ministry of Employment oversaw the cement delivery.

Negotiations with Holcim are still deadlocked.