From British daily The Morning Star:
Slow progress in Guadeloupe talks
(Thursday 26 February 2009)
NEGOTIATORS in Guadeloupe claimed progress on Thursday but admitted that they are still short of a deal to end a general strike that has paralysed the island for 37 days.
Trade union leaders, business owners and French government officials were again unable to find a solution which would help islanders to cope with the economic crisis, unemployment and soaring living costs and also be acceptable to the French overseas department’s private sector. …
Strike leaders with the Collective Against Exploitation told exhausted but cheering supporters who remained singing and drumming throughout the negotiations that they had secured a promise to meet the €200 monthly raise for islanders making 900 euros a month, but that details were yet to be finalised.
The strikers have threatened to rebuild the barricades that blocked traffic and fueled violent clashes with police last week if an acceptable deal is not reached. …
Martinique has not seen the same degree of violence as on Guadeloupe, where weeks of strikes turned into rioting in which one activist was shot dead.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a 580 million euros package last week to help development, but the strikers complained that his proposals were vague and did not directly address their demand for higher pay.