2 Apr 2009

New Caledonia president refuses to accept airline bosses' resignations

7:51 pm on 2 April 2009

New Caledonia's president, Harold Martin says he won't accept the resignation of the director of the domestic airline, William Ihage, who stepped down amid a strike by the mainly Kanak USTKE union.

The action had disrupted Air Caledonie flights out of Noumea's domestic airport but police have now moved in to allow passengers to check in for flights to the Loyalty islands.

In an interview with the Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper, Mr Martin says the way Mr Ihage has been treated and insulted is unacceptable.

He says the union's harassment of Mr Ihage and of the airline's head of the board of directors has to stop as both have tendered their resignation.

Mr Martin says he will formally advise Mr Ihage that his resignation won't be accepted.

Mr Ihage, who is a Kanak, has been accused of not backing Kanaks in a labour dispute involving a Kanak woman.