9 Oct 2006

New Caledonia strike in third week

2:47 pm on 9 October 2006

The CSTNC union strike in New Caledonia has entered its third week and is mostly affecting the territory's mining sector.

The union has demanded a number of things, including the departure of all foreign and Filipino workers employed by the Goro Nickel mining company, cheaper living costs, and the resignation of the government.

There is a strong police presence but according to local radio reports two people were injured in an incident between a striking and a non-striking worker.

The CSTNC union had had meetings with the government and mining representatives, but did not find an agreement.

Our New Caledonian correspondent, Tuo Chinula, says demonstrators started to blockade key mining areas at the beginning of last week and are continuing to do so.

"The CSTNC strike is still continuing and they are still striking or protesting outside the SLN nickel smelter. And that's right at the entrance to Noumea, to the city, to the main entrance. So they are striking there and because of their numbers I guess it is causing some traffic congestions."

Tuo Chinula.

The Goro company ferry, which transports workers from Noumea to the construction site at Goro, was able to sail for the first time today after it was blocked by unionists for more than two weeks.