Cyprus Mail

French unions call for more refinery strikes in pension dispute

anti pension bill protest in paris
A protester holds a cut-out depicting French President Emmanuel Macron near fire during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde to protest the use by French government of the article 49.3, a special clause in the French Constitution, to push the pensions reform bill through the National Assembly without a vote by lawmakers, in Paris, France, March 17, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

French fuel supplies could be put at risk again next week following union calls to extend 10 days of strike action at refineries in protest against the government’s move to hike the state pension age by two years to 64.

A spokesperson for operator TotalEnergies TTEF.PA said that, with shipments from depots and refineries blocked, production would need to be stopped once maximum stock levels had been reached.

“This will be done on a unit-by-unit basis,” the spokesperson said.

Fuel deliveries are currently being prevented from leaving the company’s La Mede biorefinery in southern France, while its Donges refinery in the west has been offline due to a technical problem with an electricity transformer, the spokesperson said.

Operations were normal at the company’s Normandy site in the north, while the Feyzin refinery in the southeast was operating almost normally, the person added.

A union official said earlier that the Normandy refinery would be stopped this weekend.

At oil major ExxonMobil’s XOM.N Esso-branded Port Jerome refinery in Normandy, workers have been called to strike from Saturday at 2 p.m. (1300 GMT), a CGT union official said.

It was unclear whether Esso’s Fos-sur-Mer refinery in the south would be similarly affected. An ExxonMobil spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the Lavera refinery in southern France operated by PetroIneos said on Friday it had had no notification from unions about planned stoppages on Monday, and was unable to give details on crude stock levels.

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