13 Nov 2008

Public sector unions in French Polynesia begin an open-ended strike

11:58 am on 13 November 2008

Public sector unions in French Polynesia are to begin an open-ended strike today in protest at a planned French pension reform.

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

Walter Zweifel reports

"French Polynesian leaders want a moratorium as they are concerned that the territory's economic problems will worsen once the massive pension transfers are reduced. But France says it no longer wants to pay up to 75 percent more to those choosing to draw their French pension outside Europe. The top-ups were introduced in the 1950s as part of incentives for those administring the colonies. The French senate is now debating the reform amid a warning in French Polynesia that a quarter of all teachers may quit in response to the gradual pension cuts. Demonstrations by public sector employees are also expected in New Caledonia tomorrow when the French minister behind the reform, Yves Jego, is due in Noumea."