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French Union Members Block Total Refinery From The Inside

Total Strikes

A group of thirty members of the France’s General Confederation of Labor demonstrating against proposed labor reforms have blockaded two of Total’s refineries from the inside, recent idea reports say.

The lock-ins have affected the firm’s Donges and Gonfreville refineries, but fuel shipments from two other facilities—Grandpuits and Le Mede—have resumed after road blockages and workers had attempted to sever the oil major’s supply chain.

A vast majority of the Donges' workers—94 percent to be exact—voted late Thursday afternoon to call off the strike and restart the refinery, but the protestors carrying out the blockade have been delaying the process, according to a company spokesperson.

Employees at the Grandpuits facility near Paris also decided to end action against the refinery, allowing it to become functional again.

The company also said truck loadings of fuel at the Grandpuits refinery have returned to normal.

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The La Mede refinery in southern France has begun resupplying oil and gas stations connected to its pipeline, which could signal the nearing failure of the CGT’s efforts to reverse reforms that would make it easier for companies to hire and fire employees, restrict vacation days and more.

Strikes at all French nuclear power stations have added to the energy crisis in France, where one-third of France’s gas stations ran out or ran low of petrol late last week, according to the French Union of Petroleum Industries.

Oil industry officials said the shortages could have been exacerbated by mass gasoline purchases by car owners unsure of future supplies.

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BBC reported that the French government had begun using oil reserves to combat the shortage caused by events at six of the country’s eight oil refineries, but road blockages had restricted suppliers from reaching pumping stations.

Transportation Minister Alain Vidalies said 40 percent of stations in Paris were struggling to get fuel last week, but the resumption in Total’s supply chain vitality could signal the end of the protests’ effectiveness.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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