22 Jul 2003

Strike planned in New Caledonia during Chirac visit

6:28 am on 22 July 2003

The mainly Kanak USTKE union in New Caledonia says up to 5-thousand people from the private and public sectors will strike to point out the uselessness of the French President's visit to the territory.

Pierre Chavat, General Secretary of the Transport, Hotel and Tourism Union within USTKE, says Jacques Chirac's visit will not change the declining social condition in New Caledonia.

President Chirac is due to arrive on Wednesday for his first visit to Noumea since 1987.

Mr Chavat says the visit is an opportunity for the union to highlight its concerns.

"We have a lot of social problems concerning employment say employment from people from overseas you know we have to take care of the local employment we have problems in pensions and superannuation fund this visit won't bring anything better than expected and Chiracs' visit it's not going to resolve anything all the social consequences are lead by the local government this country is not run properly."

Mr Chavat says the stike will begin at midnight and a protest rally will be held tomorrow morning.