31 Oct 2008

USTKE calls general strike in New Caledonia next week

11:03 am on 31 October 2008

New Caledonia's mainly Kanak USTKE union has called for a one-day general strike next week over a number of grievances, including a long-running dispute at the Carsud company in Noumea.

The union's leader, Gerard Jodar, has also listed his opposition to a proposed deal with French Polyensia which is seeking access to the New Caledonian labour market as the economic situation in Tahiti has worsened.

He has told Noumea's daily newspaper that New Caledonia doesn't need Polynesian workers to build a new hospital as the local workers are perfectly able to do the job.

Mr Jodar also says the union is the victim of ostracism by the authorities, citing the French high commission's tough stance, the number of court cases and financing plans aimed at sidelining USTKE.

He also alleges the moves are aimed at curtailing the union's recently formed Labour Party six months out from the general election.