Labour unrest grips New Caledonia

Union activists have shot and wounded two police officers during clashes in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, local officials say.

Four activists were injured and 13 detained in the clashes in Saint Louis, near the island’s capital Noumea.

The USTKE union represents indigenous Kanak workers. It has blocked roads and businesses with barricades of burning tyres during a week-long strike.

New Caledonia saw serious ethnic unrest during the 1980s.

The latest trouble sprang from a dispute with the management of the local airline Aircal.

In June the USTKE leader Gerard Jodar was jailed for a year for obstructing an aircraft, after militant USTKE members invaded the Magenta airfield, French media report.

The French high commissioner in New Caledonia, Yves Dassonville, said “this is no longer trade unionism, it’s pure violence, it’s hooliganism”.

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