19 Dec 2005

New Caledonia unions finish blockade, but general strike still on cards

7:18 pm on 19 December 2005

Unionists in New Caledonia have decided to stop blockades around the country, including outside the Goro Nickel plant, after receiving an assurance over their concerns from the French High Commission.

The Caugern union wants guarantees from Inco over the environmental and social impact of the Goro plant, while the USTKE union wants guarantees from France that the proposed nickel project at Koniambo will go ahead.

Kanak activist spokesman Jacques Boengkih says the USTKE received a letter from the High Commissioner saying France has agreed to support the Northern province project

"They decided that they would stop the blockades but a new call for a general strike is still on and it will depend on the decision made by the Paris High Court on December 26th on what would become the mining rights for that Koniambo project."

The High Court decision concerns a claim filed by the French state-owned company Eramet for the rights to the deposit of ore at the heart of the Koniambo deal.