Disruptions to fuel provisions will get worse before they get better, the Secretary General of CGT’s National Federation of Chemical Industries has declared, as union bosses try to force the government’s hand on pension reform.
Protests against France’s pension reform are still in full swing, with unions telling motorists to brace themselves for fuel shortages in the coming days and weeks.
Emmanuel Lépine, Secretary General of the National Federation of Chemical Industries (FNIC-CGT), told FranceInfo on Monday 20th March that widespread shortages were inevitable.
TOTAL SHUT DOWNS
This comes after an announcement by the CGT union on Saturday 18th March regarding the shutdown of the largest refinery in France, with others following suit, including several in the Bouches-du-Rhône. The ExxonMobil refinery in Fos-sur-Mer has already been shut down due to production and shipping stoppages. The neighbouring regions of the Gard and Vaucluse are also forecasting similar closures.
“The port entry fuel depot in Marseille is also blocked,” says Lépine. “I have never seen such determination amongst oil workers.”
In the Bouches-du-Rhône, 17% of service stations have neither Unleaded 95 nor diesel as of the morning of Monday 20th March, according to estimations by FranceInfo.
NICE PROTESTS CONTINUE
Meanwhile in Nice, protests on Sunday 19th March called by the CGT, FSU and Solidaires unions led to a violent reaction, which saw the offices of the president of the Republican party, Eric Ciotti, vandalised. The protestors graffitied the site and threw paving stones through windows.
Reacting to the vandals, Ciotti tweeted, “I will never give in to the new disciples of terror.”
Demonstrators also hit the streets the following day, with between 120 and 150 installed in front of the hospital in Cimiez.
Another round of strike actions is set for Thursday 23rd March, which will affect transport and other sectors.
All this fuss is over the French government ramming the controversial pension reform bill through and bypassing parliament. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is facing two no-confidence votes in the National Assembly’s lower house, with debates set to begin on Monday 20th March.
While her allies have the largest number of MPs, they don’t have an absolute majority. This could mean defeat if the entire opposition unites in one of the votes.
The level of anger over a two-year rise to the retirement age, one the government deems necessary for the fiscal health of the nation, has divided the country and turned it into a battle ground, disrupting the lives of the public and leaving much of Europe scratching their heads.
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