29 Aug 2016

Unions to strike over fiscal reforms in New Caledonia

12:30 pm on 29 August 2016

Unions in New Caledonia have called a general strike on Thursday to pressure the Congress to adopt fiscal reforms.

The Congress is due to debate comprehensive reforms on Thursday which the unions said are needed to lower the cost of living.

Earlier this month, about 1,000 people in Noumea heeded a call by the Employers Federation to protest against the government's plan to do away with a large number of import duties and replace them with a consumption tax.

New Caledonian employees rally against tax reform

New Caledonian employees rally against tax reform Photo: AFP

Employers are opposed to the competition segment of the reform because it would set a ceiling on the margin that can be charged.

The head of the union umbrella group, Didier Guenant-Jeanson, said the unions have worked for 10 years to achieve the reforms, urging for the package not to be split now.

He said some businesses have been exerting terrible pressure on Congress members to have their way and he has warned that the whole of the country could lose out just to satisfy 20 companies.

Three years ago, New Caledonia had a 12-day general strike over the high cost of living but two years ago a broad deal was reached for comprehensive reforms to tackle inequality.

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