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Fuel in France: Obstacle maintenance at TotalEnergies and requisitions at ExxonMobil

Fuel in France: Obstacle maintenance at TotalEnergies and requisitions at ExxonMobil

Strikers at TotalEnergies rejected, on Wednesday evening, an administrative proposal to lift the blockade of fuel depots, a few hours after an initial request launched by the French government in Esso-ExxonMobil to supply dry service stations in the Paris region.

At the end of a new meeting at TotalEnergies’ headquarters near Paris, the strikers adamantly rejected a proposal to release the shipments early Thursday morning, as a condition of the opening following wage negotiations.

“It’s a massive categorical refusal, they (the staff) don’t want to negotiate this requirement,” Thierry Deverson, CGT member of the TotalEnergies Europe panel, told AFP. “The negative outcome of the night’s discussions,” the company confirmed to AFP.

Earlier in the day, management nevertheless agreed for the first time to receive the CGT on Wednesday. Until now, it was required as a prerequisite to raise the bar to see the group’s second union.

Previously, as Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne announced the day before, the Ministry of Energy Transition launched an order for four striking Esso-ExxonMobil employees to release fuel at the Port-Jérôme (NW) refinery depot.

The site manager informed the decree of the four employees, two for Wednesday and two for Thursday, who will have to attend and reopen the gates, under pain of criminal penalties.

Philip Martinez, the CGT leader who came to support ExxonMobil employees, denounced the “scandalous decision” and announced a lawsuit on Thursday.

The demand does not target refinery operations and thus fuel production. This will “make it possible to ensure that products are shipped”, “usually today to the Paris region” via a pipeline, a spokeswoman for ISO France said.

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Government spokesman Olivier Veran confirmed that the strikers from TotalEnergies’ Flanders warehouse, near Dunkirk (North), would be the next to be captured.

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron plans to return to normal fuel distribution “within the next week”, during an interview on France 2 on Wednesday evening, calling for the “responsibility” of the management of TotalEnergies and CGT.

Six of the seven refineries in France went on strike on Wednesday: four from Total Energy and refineries from Esso-ExxonMobil. Only those of Lavéra (Petroineos group) were not banned.

Joining the strike was Force Ouvrière (FO), the fourth union among TotalEnergies’ refining workers.

Enough to prolong the shortage, despite government promises of improvement.

By late Wednesday afternoon, 30.8% of service stations were short of one or more fuels (31.3% Tuesday), according to authorities. The situation is worse in the north of the country, in the Paris region and in the center.

Motorists everywhere say of the “kitchen slate” and brutal queues: “This morning, I lost 1:30 to find a diesel pump (…) on my day off,” desperate Albertine Moraes, a nurse in Clichy-la-Garenne, near Paris. . And it will be necessary to “start again in a couple of days”: “I am already in a panic.”

Reason for disagreement: wages. CGT, which launched the strike on September 27 at TotalEnergies, is demanding a 10% increase for 2022, compared to the 3.5% obtained at the beginning of the year, in order to offset inflation and benefit from the group’s exceptional profits.

At Esso, an agreement was signed with two of the majority federations, including CFDT, but not with CGT. The strike continued in its refineries.

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At TotalEnergies, the strike has been going on since September 27. It concerns the Normandy refinery, near Le Havre (Northwest), the Flanders Depot, near Dunkirk (North), the La Midi refinery (southeast), the Visin refinery (Central-East), and Dongs (West).

In the face of angry motorists, the government is under increasing criticism from the opposition. Green Party MP Sandrine Rousseau called for a “general strike” on Wednesday and Mathilde Baneau (La France Insoumise, far left) went to the ExxonMobil attackers.