20 Nov 2008

Strike in French Polynesia leaves airport arrivals unchecked

4:30 pm on 20 November 2008

A strike by public servants in French Polynesia has continued despite a French senate vote to change the pension system.

The week-long strike was called in a bid to get a moratorium on the French plan to cut pensions in its overseas territories.

At the international airport, officials say there are now no customs checks, with arriving passengers bringing in tobacco and alcohol duty-free.

A striking officer has told local radio that this has also left the territory open to the importation of illegal substances.

Meanwhile, at the port of Papeete, thousands of containers are awaiting clearance.

In Paris, the senate vote means that the pension top-ups will be phased out over 20 years.

They amounted to up to 75 percent of the regular French pension and were put in place in the 1950s to reward public servants working in the colonies.