02 Juni 2016

[020616.EN.BIZ] More Petrol At The Pumps, But French Strike Spreads To Other Sectors

THE situation at France's petrol pumps has improved since last week, when strike caused long lines of motorists waiting to fill up nationwide, reports Bloomberg.

Strikers are protesting new labour legislation that would do away with closed shop protectionism that fortifies union jobs against competition, and defends the shortest work week in Europe at 35 hours and the longest annual leave at 30 days.

About 20 per cent of petrol stations were dry or faced partial shortages, Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres said. That's down from 30 per cent at the end of last week.

Total SA, which operates 2,200 gas stations in the country, said 127 of them where out of fuel, and another 288 faced partial shortages.

That compares with 273 out of fuel and 380 facing shortages. Four of its refineries remained shutdown, while the La Mede plant is running at 80 per cent capacity and has resumed fuel shipments by pipeline, Total said.

Four of the country's eight refineries are halted, two are working at reduced levels, and two are working normally, according to Ufip.

The business federation said hundreds of extra fuel trucks used by fuel retailers will help reduce the shortage at gas stations, and called for a return to normal.

Exxon Mobil Corp's refinery in Gravenchon has received crude oil over the weekend and continues to work normally and to send fuel to gas stations, spokeswoman said. It has also sent jet fuel to Paris airports, she said.

The company's refinery in Fos-sur-Mer also continues to work normally, and has sent fuel over the past days except during one work shift, she said.

The government began speaking directly to rail unions in recent days, offering concessions that SNCF management disagreed with.

SNCF chief executive Guillaume Pepy even threatened to resign over the concessions, according to Les Echos newspaper.

Meanwhile, France's second largest union CGT has also called for a stoppage at the RATP, which manages Paris' metro and buses.

The UNSA-INCA union of air traffic controllers has called for a strike June 3-5, and Air France's main pilot union, the SNPL, said that 68 per cent of its members voted to strike in coming weeks to protest the airline's plans to cut pay.

Source : HKSG.

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