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French Caribbean

Government and some bosses sign deal in Guadeloupe

Article published on the 2009-02-27 Latest update 2009-02-28 10:42 TU

Elie Domota, leader of the LKP(Photo: Reuters)

Elie Domota, leader of the LKP
(Photo: Reuters)

“We got our 200 euros, it’s OK,” exclaimed union leader Rosan Mounien after signing a deal that cedes to Guadeloupe’s strikers’ chief demand. After a second night of negotiations, the government and the strikers signed a deal but without the signatures of several employers’ representatives who did not show up to the meeting.

The deal, which promises a 200-euro pay raise for those who make less than about 1,500 euros per month, was hailed as “a first step” by leader of the strike organization LKP, Elie Domota.

The state will fund half of the wage hike, Guadeloupe’s Prefect Nicolas Desforges said. Without additional signatures, however, no more than 20,000 of the 55,000 people in this category will receive the money.

“There are some employers’ organisations that made the choice to not participate in the negotiations, but on Monday we will be asking to have this deal extended to all the companies operating in Guadeloupe,” Domota said.

The general strike on the Caribbean island continues. On Friday, “we have an appointment with the prefect to discuss different points,” such as “price reductions on essentials, on water and on transport,” Domota explained.

Several leaders of employers' associations, including Willy Angèle, who represents France’s largest, Medef, refused to participate in Thursday night’s negotiations. Angèle explained that he could not be sure of his physical safety, saying that Domota assaulted him on Wednesday.

Prefect Desforges contests this version of events.

“At no time was his safety at risk. Mr Angèle was not touched by Mr Domota. I immediately called for the session to be suspended to calm people down. Mr Angèle wasn’t physically threatened, but could complain of [Domota’s] inappropriate attitude,” he told RFI’s French-language service.

After several nights of rioting, calm reigned in the nearby island of Martinique, though no end to the strike there is in sight.

Martinique's strike leaders were asking for 250 euros, while employers were offering 100. After a first night of negotiations, the Martinique Independence Movement has lowered its demand to 247 euros.