9 Oct 2006

Goro Nickel says it is ready to talk with New Caledonian strikers

7:57 pm on 9 October 2006

The Goro Nickel company in New Caledonia says it is open for discussions with the CSTNC union whose strike action is impacting on the company's construction plans.

The union called a strike nearly three weeks ago demanding several things, including the departure of the company's Filipino construction workers and the resignation of the government.

It is concentrating its action mostly on the mining sector, and the SLN mining headquaters remain blocked.

Goro Nickel's deputy manager, Jeff Zweig, says construction work at Goro continues to be affected but the company has increased its staff on site after numbers were initially cut back to a third.

A meeting between Goro, the ministry of labour and the union was cancelled by the union last Friday, and Mr Zweig says no further meetings are planned.

He says Goro is open for discussions, but it won't send the Filipinos home.

"Our understanding of the demands of the CSTNC has not changed. We are committed to maximising the local employment and no foreign workers will be brought onto the territory without first veryfying that no one locally is available and competent to do the work."

Jeff Zweig