17 Aug 2009

French Polynesia talks ahead of planned strike

2:17 pm on 17 August 2009

French Polynesia is bracing itself for possible widespread strikes the day after tomorrow as the main eight unions are set to begin an open-ended stoppage.

A meeting is planned for tomorrow between the union leadership and President Oscar Temaru whose government stands accused of being unable to run the territory in view of the economic problems.

The unions' grievances encompass a 14-point list and centre on the high cost of living and the loss of thousands of jobs since the economic downturn worsened in late 2007.

The unions have also said the government has done too little to boost the economy and are now keen to meet senior ministers, such as the economics minister and the labour minister.

According to a local newspaper, one unionist expressed alarm at the arrival of a mobile police squad only to be told that it was a Tahiti-based unit returning from a deployment to New Caledonia.