27 May 2013

Price freeze in New Caledonia following strike

3:40 pm on 27 May 2013

A price freeze has come into effect in New Caledonia for all products and services, in response to a 12-day general strike called to protest against the high cost of living.

A protocol to end the strike was signed in the small hours of Monday after a weekend of negotiations led by the French high commissioner and involving local politicians, unions and employers.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The agreement came as petrol stations had run out fuel and access roads up north were blocked by the union group determined not to quit until it had results. On top of the price freeze, the protocol provides a price drop of ten percent by the end of this week on 300 food and hygiene products plus 200 other items that make up 80 percent of the needs of the average consumer. The deal also lowers phone and internet costs as well as bank fees amid public anger that prices are about a third higher than in France. Transport costs for those living in remote area will be subsidised. The deal provides for a tax reform by mid-2014, introducing a tax on activities that will absorb a range of current levies."