Fuel shipments were disrupted Tuesday in all French refineries, according to the CGT, which had called for a blockage against the pension reform, but the supply of service stations remains almost normal, insists the government.
Thierry Defresne, CGT central union representative at Total, counted "eight refineries out of eight affected by the strike" and welcomed a "historic" mobilization.
The CGT Federation of Chemistry called for the blocking of all petroleum installations - refineries, petroleum terminals, deposits - for 96 hours, until January 10. FO also called for an unlimited movement.
France has seven refineries located in mainland France, plus Total's agro-refinery in La Mède, in the Bouches-du-Rhône.
According to the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, all of them produced on Tuesday morning but "five refineries out of seven are experiencing temporary difficulties in their shipments": the Total sites of Grandpuits, Feyzin, Donges, Normandy, as well as the Esso refinery (ExxonMobil) FOS on sea.
"Not a drop of fuel will leave the refinery until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday," Fabien Privé Saint-Lanne, CGT union representative in Donges, told media, while in Feyzin, "there is no shipment. today "of petroleum products, according to Jacques Lacaille, local representative of CGT-Chimie.
However, the other two sites were also affected, say the unions. Thus, the strike was voted at the Esso refinery in Gravenchon (Seine-Maritime), according to Thierry Defresne. At the Petroinos refinery in Lavera (Bouches-du-Rhône), "the employees will simply cut off the arrivals in the pipes," said local CGT manager Sébastien Varagnol.
On the side of Total's management, it was pointed out on Tuesday that the refineries "were operating, producing and storing fuels while awaiting the end of shipping blockages".
"The stop of shipments to refineries is limited in time (from January 7 to 10). We are therefore perfectly prepared for it," said a spokesman for the oil group.
Service stations are supplied via a network of 200 depots spread across the territory.
The ministry said in the morning that "only three out of about 200 depots are experiencing temporary difficulties, all the others ensuring their deliveries normally", adding that "stocks are at an excellent level, equivalent to more than 3 months of fuel consumption".
"With the exception of deposits attached to the refineries, no other deposit of the Total group is blocked and shipments are proceeding at a normal rate", assures the oil group.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Tuesday morning that he had asked the prefects to mobilize the police "to ensure that there are no blockages of deposits" of fuels or refineries.
A possible blockage of the refineries would be "illegal", had judged at the beginning of January the Secretary of State for the Economy Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
However, the CGT ensures that it confines itself to stopping shipments as part of legal work stoppages.
"The staff who wants to work has the right to do so, everyone must respect themselves, whether we are on strike or not on strike", for example insisted Fabien Privé Saint-Lanne, CGT delegate at the Donges refinery (Loire -Atlantic).
Regarding service stations, "the situation is almost normal with more than 98% of the 11,000 service stations which know no difficulty and are normally supplied", according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
A spokesperson for the French Union of Petroleum Industries (Ufip) reports a shortage of one or two products (diesel and petrol) Tuesday morning in about 1.5% of the 11,000 French service stations.
© 2020 AFP