10 Jul 2009

Parents' group in New Caledonia opposes anti-union marches

1:17 pm on 10 July 2009

A federation of school parents in New Caledonia, the UGPE, disapproves of the movement which last month took to the streets of Noumea to protest against the methods used by the USTKE union.

The UGPE coordinator, Jean-France Toutikian, says they had called on school parents not to join the march, even though the USTKE had also blocked and shut some schools during their strikes.

The USTKE has been in conflict with the domestic airline Aircal for several months, with some of its members now in jail for impeding air traffic in Noumea.

Mr Toutikian says the people behind the anti-USTKE demonstration were mainly employers who don't want to have discussions with trade unions.

"The aircraft company made all it could to prevent a good solution for the problem. And so we decided to support the trade union and ask them, OK, we can work with you, we support you, but we ask you, please don't close the schools."

Jean-France Toutikian