15 Jun 2010

Tahiti strikers allow international flights to resume

6:35 pm on 15 June 2010

The general strike in French Polynesia is being loosened to allow the first international airliner in five days to leave Tahiti.

The French high commissioner has told local television that an agreement has been reached to allow international flights to resume after a handful of firefighters at the airport were ordered to end their strike.

Blockades of some institutions and the Port of Papeete have continued, causing problems with the supply of gas and petrol.

Air Tahiti Nui and Air France have begun selecting and contacting passengers among the thousands of stranded people for flights to Japan, the US and France.

Special flights are expected to be put on to help clear the backlog, with priority being given to foreign tourists and urgent cases.

Negotiations have restarted between the French Polynesian government and the collective of 11 unions and groups to find an end to the dispute.

The strike had been called to alert the authorities to job losses in the territory, with a demand that an unemployment insurance be set up.