Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

France

Government hopes new measures will end deadlock

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-02-26

The French government hopes a new raft of propositions, including adding 80 euros a month for certain Guadeloupe workers, will end the crippling strikes on the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

The French government says it has come up with new propositions to end a crippling five-week general strike on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Government spokesman Luc Chatel indicated Wednesday that “new propositions” that have “the merit of simplicity” will be put to union leaders.

 

Yet, on the ground, the situation remains clouded and uncertain. Negotiations between representatives from the government, unions and employers are to resume Friday at 3pm GMT in Pointe-à-Pitre, the island’s biggest city, after they were suspended again on Tuesday. 

 

The government insists it is optimistic a resolution to the crisis in Guadeloupe can be achieved. “But it would be wrong to think that the situation can be resolved in one fell swoop," French Secretary of State for Overseas Territories Yves Jégo told Le Parisien – Aujourd’hui en France newspaper.

 

"We are working on ways to reduce food prices, but this will take time. Nothing has been accomplished yet, but there is real scope for things to happen."

 

First night of violence in Martinique

 

Meanwhile, the neighbouring island of Martinique experienced its first night of violence since the island followed Guadeloupe into a general strike on Feb. 5.

 

At least three cars were burnt and several stores raided overnight Tuesday as negotiations on a possible salary increase were going on in the nearby regional administration building.

 

In Martinique as in Guadeloupe, unions continue to protest against prices of basic foodstuffs that are much higher than in mainland France.

 

Declining spending power fuels protests

 

Civil servants sent to Guadeloupe and Martinique from France enjoy a 40% weighting on their salaries to reflect this difference. But for ordinary workers, salaries are only 15% higher than the average in France.

 

In the supermarkets, products are between 20% and 155% more expensive, according to a survey carried out by Le Parisien newspaper.

 

Part of the problem comes from the fact that most food products are imported. There is little retail competition - only half of the major French retail chains are present on the islands - and salaries do not reflect the more expensive standard of living.

 

While a bit has been done in France to address the problem of declining spending power, for many islanders, life is getting progressively less affordable.

 

According to a BVA poll published Wednesday, 78% of French people say the protest movement is justified.

 

Date created : 2009-02-25

COMMENT(S)