A general strike that crippled the French island of Guadeloupe for six weeks has ended with an agreement between unions and the government.
The deal meets demands for a 200 euro increase in the lowest monthly salaries and freezes the prices of dozens of shop items to reduce the cost of living. One union negotiator said the details cover a lot of ground. “We’ve made big advances on many areas and a number of things will be sorted out in the coming weeks,” he said. There was widespread relief across the Carribbean island. The 44-day protest had turned violent at times. A union activist was shot dead during one riot, in circumstances that have yet to be fully clarified. People in Guadelope hope the deal will bring an end to weeks of hardship and trouble. They will also expect an easing of living conditions – everyday goods are more expensive in Guadeloupe than anywhere else in France. Negotiations are continuing to bring a similar settlement to the neighbouring island of Martinique. The French government may hope the agreement will prevent the same kind of unrest spreading to the mainland.