P. M. BRIEFING : Corsican Strike Blockade Lifting
Supplies of meat and frozen foods reached the strike-bound capital of Corsica for the first time in a week today as trade unionists gradually lifted a blockade of the island’s ports and airports. The arrival of 1,500 metric tons of food was greeted with relief by crowds of Corsicans hit by shortages of meat, cigarettes and medicine during strikes over the high cost of living on the Mediterranean island.
Trade unionists, who stopped work five weeks ago demanding a bonus to offset high prices, appeared to have virtually lifted their seven-day blockade of sea and air traffic. Some French airline companies announced resumption of scheduled flights on the eve of the Easter break, and chartered flights from Britain and West Germany were also due to land.
Meanwhile, the head of the CGT trade union, Noel Zicchina, escaped an assassin’s bullet Thursday night as he and hundreds of fellow trade unionists occupied the port at Ajaccio.
More than 20,000 civil servants and private sector workers--a quarter of the Corsican work force--are on strike. The government is resisting their demands, saying taxes have been scrapped on items such as cigarettes and alcohol, and other goods are subsidized.