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New Caledonia:Strikers Black Out Radio,TV

New Caledonia:Strikers Black Out Radio,TV

18 February 2001

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NOUMEA (Oceania Flash/SPC): New Caledonia's state Réseau France Outremer (RFO) radio and television stations have once again been put off air by industrial action led by USTKE union, RFO reports on its Paris website.

Since Thursday evening, pickets have barred access to the station to all technicians and journalists.

Access to all programs have been cancelled and transmissions have ceased for both radio and the two television channels.

USTKE (Kanak and Exploited Workers Union) is demanding that old equipment, including a televsion production van, be replaced.

"Our van will soon be written off because it is 17 years old, but they don't want to buy another one. In the meantime, we are asked to increase our local production by covering local events, but no one is giving us the means to achieve that," a USTKE statement said.

The union also wants return fares to France granted every third year to metropolitan French staff working at the station be also granted to local staff.

Another claim, which USTKE has lodged previously, was that all key positions in the station be reserved to local staff.

A new editor-in-chief was appointed recently from Paris.

USTKE said the blockade would only be lifted if a negotiator was sent from the Paris headquarters of RFO to Nouméa, but later conceded that a faxed assurance that somebody was being sent could suffice.



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