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Unions ready to talk after 177 positions eliminated

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 5, 2012) – Teacher unions in French Polynesia have warned that they will begin an indefinite strike on Friday over job cuts announced by Paris.

The warning was issued after last week’s announcement that 177 teaching positions would be disestablished in the territory once the new school year starts in September.

The French education ministry is set to cut 14,000 jobs in total which prompted strike action across France five weeks ago.

The unions in Tahiti say they are ready for talks, but if they fail to reach an accord, the strike will be on.

The planned cuts have also prompted French Polynesia’s education minister to call for an urgent meeting of the top level committee dealing with contentious matters, which is co-chaired by the French high commissioner and the French Polynesian president.

There has already been tension between Tauhiti Nena and French officials because France wants to send some French Polynesian teachers to French schools in line with the prerogative of Paris to allocate posts to teachers on its payroll.

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