7 Aug 2009

USTKE says despite deal, strike not over

2:12 pm on 7 August 2009

New Caledonia's USTKE union says its strike has only been suspended and it will take further action of a kind yet to be determined.

This comes after a deal has been signed purportedly settling a protracted labour dispute with the domestic carrier, Air Caledonie.

But a senior union leader, Marie-Pierre Goyetche, says the strike is not over as the jailing in June of the union's leader, Gerard Jodar, is linked to the airline issue.

Jodar was imprisoned for a year because he joined an effort to seize Noumea's domestic airport and entered an aircraft in response to the labour dispute.

The agreement to end the conflict was signed in the early hours of Thursday, also bringing to an end nearly two weeks of skirmishes between union backers and riot police that severely hampered economic activity in Noumea.

France had welcomed the settlement but readied more riot police.