8 Oct 2008

New Caledonians protest pension reforms

10:45 am on 8 October 2008

An estimated 1,000 government employees have taken to the streets of the New Caledonian capital, Noumea, in protest at French plans to reform the pension system.

The rally was organised by a number of unions amid claims that the proposed cuts will cause hardship for about 10,000 people in the territory.

One union leader says the price difference between New Caledonia and France on some products can be up to 300 percent.

The reforms envisage phasing out the top-ups of pensions offered to French public servants who retire in its colonies.

Under a system introduced in 1952, pensions can be boosted by up to 75 percent.

According to the French government, the cuts apply to no more than 4,000 people who have been entitled to up to 64,000 US dollars in additional annual benefits.