9 Nov 2006

SLN nickel company in New Caledonia moves to lay off staff

3:19 pm on 9 November 2006

The SLN nickel company in New Caledonia plans to partially lay off about 100 workers in response to the CSTNC union strike action.

The union's strike is in its seventh week and is mostly affecting the SLN mining company, with losses for the enterprise being in the millions of US dollars because of two blocked mines.

Our correspondent, Tuo Chinula, says SLN wants to act in the face of the blockades.

"The SLN held a meeting yesterday which was to discuss putting some of its workers in a couple of its mines in the north that have been blocked for practically the entire seven weeks of the strike on partial unemployment, which means that they would lose a major part of their salary. So that proposition has been put forward to one of the labour authorities, which have to give its consent before the company can go ahead and take action."

Tuo Chinula says the union's demands include cheaper living costs and the departure of all foreign workers employed in the Goro Nickel project.

Meanwhile, a meeting is expected to take place this afternoon between some CSTNC representatives and the Congress to discuss the demands.