29 Oct 2008

French Polynesia public sector strike in two weeks over French pension reform

1:40 pm on 29 October 2008

Public sector unions in French Polynesia have called for an open-ended general strike in two weeks over a French decision to reform the pension system.

Paris plans to cut some benefits accorded to retirees in overseas territories that were put in place in the 1950's as part of a colonial incentive and compensation scheme.

This week, more than 1,000 public sector employees marched in Tahiti in protest at the reform following a much larger rally earlier this month.

The crowd stopped outside the office of the French high commissioner, Adolphe Colrat, who in his previous job in the French administration was in charge of the section that drafted the reforms.

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, says he has written a letter to the French prime minister and to the President, but a union leader says Mr Tong Sang has never openly opposed the reform.

A delegation representing French overseas possessions will meet a senior presidential official in Paris next week in a bid to have the reforms amended.