7 Apr 2008

Call for reform in New Caledonia to counter widening gap between rich and poor

7:23 pm on 7 April 2008

A major union in New Caledonia is calling for reform in light of a widening income gap between the territory's rich and poor.

New Caledonia is experiencing an economic boom because of soaring prices for nickel.

But the top ten percent of the population now earns 13 times more than the poorest ten percent and the gap is growing.

Our correspondent, Claudine Wery, says the USOENC union is asking for an increase in the minimum wage and for changes in the territory's labour laws.

"USOENC asks to change the way the economy is organised in New Caledonia, because it says it's not a modern economy, we have to reform a lot of things in New Caledonia, but it hasn't been done since World War II."

Claudine Wery says the government is trying to address the issue, but it dismisses the need for such reforms.