The general strike movement against the vaccine obligation and for the establishment of social measures which affects French Polynesia mobilizes little in the public service: less than 1% of Polynesian education and administration employees have taken action. strike. It is followed more in companies that present internal claims. Domestic air traffic is disrupted by the strike of the airport firefighters: no plane, for example, has been able to land or take off from the island of Raiatea. Four local unions – out of the five in French Polynesia – are contesting the law on compulsory vaccination, voted in August by the assembly of French Polynesia. All Polynesians who exercise a profession in contact with the public must be vaccinated on December 23.

Less than 58% of Polynesians are vaccinated, despite a strong wave of the Delta variant in August and September, which killed more than 500 people out of 280,000 inhabitants. Polynesian President Edouard Fritch said he was ready to reduce the fine incurred by the non-vaccinated, but not to go back on this law: “My duty is to protect the population and therefore to maintain the vaccination obligation” , he said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The unions also want a 4% increase in the minimum wage. The government has said it is ready to increase it by 2% and by one point more in a few months. The gross minimum wage is 1,281 euros in Polynesia, where the cost of living is higher than in mainland France. The inter-union is also calling for the creation of a fund to help employees who have lost their jobs, because there is no unemployment fund in this autonomous overseas community.

Edouard Fritch regretted the breakdown of negotiations by the unions after five days of discussions. But the trade unionists on the contrary considered that the president had not satisfied any of their points of demands: “He explained at length that he wanted to maintain the obligation of vaccination and not to pay excessively the smicards”, regretted Patrick Galenon, general secretary of CSTP-FO, the first local union. Frédéric Dock, the president of the main Polynesian employers’ union, considered that this strike movement was “irresponsible” and came “at the worst time” for the Polynesian economy. Negotiations had not resumed Wednesday evening (Thursday morning) in Polynesia.

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