12 Nov 2008

Public sector unions in French Polynesia set to strike

2:31 pm on 12 November 2008

Public sector unions in French Polynesia are to go on an open-ended general strike tomorrow in protest at French pension reform plans.

The strike is expected to cripple services and is to be accompanied by a sit-in in Papeete which follows last month's mass demonstration against the changes.

Paris intends to tighten the eligibility for top-ups for retirees which were introduced in the 1950s as part of incentives for those serving the administration of the colonies.

France says it no longer wants to pay up to 75 percent more for those choosing to draw their French pension outside Europe.

The French assembly has amended the initial proposal to set a fresh ceiling but the Senate wants to tighten the plan despite growing opposition from overseas members of the legislature.

Tomorrow's strike is to coincide with the Senate debate.

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, has called for the reform to be put off for a year.