2 Apr 2008

New Caledonian employers vow pursuit of social dialogue after USTKE pullout

1:43 pm on 2 April 2008

The New Caledonian employers' organisation, MEDEF, says it is committed to keep working with a group for social dialogue.

This comes after the USTKE union announced that it was quitting the group over alleged attacks on its right to strike.

The MEDEF president, Jean-Yves Bouvier, has likened the stance taken by USTKE as a caricature, saying its actions are not unionism but politics.

Mr Bouvier has denounced strikes which were called to support staff sacked for illegal absences.

The USTKE leader, Gerard Jodar, says in the past few months it's no longer been possible to demonstrate without security forces being sent out.

Several unionists, including Mr Jodar, face possible jail sentences over clashes with police in January.

In 2006, the number of strike days was on a per capita basis 200 times higher than in mainland France.