strike resumes at TotalEnergie and ExxonMobil but service station situation ‘should continue to improve’, government says

strike resumes at TotalEnergie and ExxonMobil but service station situation 'should continue to improve', government says

Supply tensions at many service stations in France are set to continue after the CGT announced the resumption of strikes at several TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil refineries and fuel depots on Sunday 9 October. The movement has been going on for ten days and is mechanically reducing the supply of gasoline and diesel fuel.

“In the absence of a response from general management” on an open letter sent on Saturday, “Traffic has resumed everywhere”, announced Eric Cellini, CGT Coordinator at TotalEnergies. This applies to the Normandy Oil Refinery, which alone accounts for 22% of the territory’s oil refining capacity, as well as the Feyza Bio-Oil Refinery. de La Med and the Flanders Fuel Depot. ExxonMobil’s two facilities are in Normandy and Fosse-sur-Mer “Still Stopping On Sunday”added Christoph Ober, manager of CGT.

The dispute is about salary requirements. At TotalEnergies, the union is demanding a 10% raise on the 1ste January, backdated to 2022, including 7% inflation-adjusted and 3% inflation-adjusted “Sharing the wealth”while the group announced a profit of €10.9bn in the first half and an interim exceptional dividend of €2.62bn to its shareholders.

The management reminds that in 2022 wages have increased by an average of 3.5%, and refers to the planned 15 November 2023 wage negotiations. In its letter, the union proposed to negotiate from 10 October only on its wage demands. since “This is radio silence”Eric Cellini summarized.

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Short-term solutions and encouraging social dialogue

As the crisis dragged on and dialogue stalled, the government played on several fronts to find a way out:

  • Look for short-term solutions to the supply problems that are particularly severe in Ile-de-France and Haut-de-France. One was to allow trucks over 7.5 tonnes carrying hydrocarbons to travel on Saturday 8, Sunday 9 and Monday 10 October.
  • They reassured the public by reminding them that there are fuel reserves and there are no restrictions on gas stations. “We released a strategic stockpile”, Christophe Bechu, Minister of Environmental Transition, announced on Franceinfo on Saturday. His ministry then concluded by declaring that “France has ninety days of strategic reserves across the territory and the supply outlook for the coming weeks and months will rule out any risk of prolonged shortages.”
  • Finally, publicly incite TotalEnergies management and unions” so that these wage negotiations succeed and do not punish the French”, as did Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne on Friday. TotalEnergies manages almost a third of the STAs in France. While the government wanted to remain neutral, the right-wing opposition, through the voice of the president of Les Républicains in the Senate, Bruno Retillo, publicly attacked the CGT, which “cannot take France hostage”.

At noon on Saturday, slightly more than one in five stations (20.7%) experienced difficulties with the supply of at least one type of fuel, according to the Ministry of Energy. In Pas de Calais and the north of the country, almost 40% of service stations were affected. Figures for Sunday have not yet been released, but according to the Ministry of Environmental Transition, “the situation should continue to improve.”

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The world with AFP

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