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French Port Workers Suspend Strike Ahead Of Protest

The strike at a French port may not be over, but it is on hold for now as French CGT workers have suspended their four-week strike at the Fos-Lavera oil terminal in the southern part of the country.

Those workers who have been protesting labor reforms since 23 May as part of a larger movement will join the national days of protest that have been slated to run from the 23rd of June to the 28th of June, according to Union representative Pascal Galeote on Sunday.

When CGT members joined the nationwide strike in May, the action disrupted loading and unloading ships, including tankers for the oil and gas industry.

These tensions began at the end of May 2016. The French government is seeking labor reforms that are opposed by unions and according to some sources, many of French people.

The main issue of contention is a plan by the government to let companies have a greater measure of flexibility in decisions regarding the hiring and firing of employees, setting rates of pay and working hours.

Under the proposed plan, those decisions would be made by employers using criteria they develop from economic circumstances. The unions contend that the move would weaken their collective bargaining strategies.

Related: Oil Reverses Despite Market Uncertainty

Reportedly, the strike has resulted in a decreased electricity supply, gasoline shortages, and blockaded oil shipments. Workers have also walked off their jobs at nuclear power plants. Earlier in June, 30 members of the General Confederation of Labor blockaded two of Total’s refineries from the inside.

On Friday, officials from the French government met with representatives from the CGT. Neither the government nor the CGT indicated that any progress had been made, and one CGT official, union head Phillipe Martinez said that the street demonstrations planned for Thursday would go ahead.

By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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