10 Jun 2009

Talks in New Caledonia as USTKE strike enters third day

1:36 pm on 10 June 2009

The French high commissioner in Noumea, Yves Dassonville, has met the leader of New Caledonia's mainly Kanak USTKE union whose strike is in its third day.

No details of the encounter between Mr Dassonville and Gerard Jodar have been released, with the union still locked in a dispute with the domestic airline, Air Caledonie, which refuses to negotiate pay for the days workers have been on strike.

Disruptions have continued, prompting police to intervene to secure access to parts of the port and some schools.

The strike which is being staged by about 800 unionists has caused problems in keeping petrol stations supplied.

New Caledonian radio reports that a demonstration has been held on the island of Mare where traditional leaders have called for an end to the disruptions, which have led to flights to the mainland being cancelled.

Talks are to be held today between Mr Jodar and Philippe Gomes who last week was elected president for a five-year term.

Mr Jodar will be in court next week over his role in last week's strike-related clashes at the city's domestic airport.