8 Dec 2016

New Caledonia nickel plant strike suspended for talks

2:23 pm on 8 December 2016

A meeting has been called in New Caledonia on Monday between the government and striking workers of the Koniambo nickel plant.

An aerial view taken on September 22, 2015 in Voh, in North Province, New Caledonia shows the Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS) metallurgical plant belonging to Glencore and Societe miniere du Sud Pacifique.

The Koniambo Nickel plant in North Province, New Caledonia. Photo: AFP

This follows a stoppage at the plant over the planned dismissal of 41 local employees as part of a company restructure.

The unions said it is not normal to go ahead with the sackings after significant sums have been made available to support the multi-billion US dollar plant.

Last week, one of the main investors, Glencore, said the second furnace would be rebuilt but it also said the planned dismissal would still go ahead.

Last month, the French prime minister Manuel Valls confirmed to the president of New Caledonia's northern province Paul Neaoutyne that the power plant for the Koniambo smelter would benefit from concessions worth more than $US200 million.

Koniambo insists the restructure was approved by all parties concerned.

The workers said they are suspending their strike until Monday while awaiting the talks.

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