SOENC UNION MOUNTS ROADBLOCKS, BARS ACCESS TO NEW CALEDONIA MINE SITES

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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (December 21,2000 – Oceania Flash/SPC)---New Caledonia's SOENC union mounted roadblocks on Wednesday, attempting to bar access to the French territory's crucial mining sites, RFO radio reports.

The roadblocks were focused on New Caledonia's territorial highway, where traffic was severely restricted by an estimated 300 SOENC members.

However, some traffic still moved.

Road access was much tighter at the mining sites themselves.

SOENC said the main motive for the industrial action was to display its disagreement with the territorial government's recent decision to increase the price of fuel and introduce a controversial four percent goods and services tax.

The roadblocks were lifted only after SOENC mining section leader Sylvain Néa gave the order Wednesday at lunchtime.

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