renewed strike at TotalEnergie and ExxonMobil, but the situation at gas stations “should continue to improve”, according to the government

The tension in the supply of many service stations in France is expected to persist after the CGT announced on Sunday 9 October that the strike at several TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil refineries and fuel depots had been renewed. The movement lasted ten days and mechanically leads to a decrease in deliveries of gasoline and diesel.

“In the absence of a response from the General Management” to the open letter sent on Saturday, “The movement has renewed itself everywhere”, announced Eric Sellini, TotalEnergies CGT coordinator. This is the Normandy refinery, which alone represents 22% of the refining capacity of the territory, that of Feyzin, the biorefinery de La Mède and the fuel depot of Flanders. The two ExxonMobil sites in Normandy and Fos-sur-Mer are “Sunday still stopped”added Christophe Aubert, manager of the CGT.

The controversy is over wage claims. At TotalEnergies, the union is asking for a 10% increase out of 1uh January, retroactive to 2022, of which 7% to recover the effects of inflation and 3% for “Share the wealth”while the group announced 10.9 billion euros of profit in the first half and the payment to its shareholders of an exceptional interim dividend of 2.62 billion euros.

Management recalled, firstly, that salaries increased by an average of 3.5% in 2022 and referred to the annual salary negotiations scheduled for November 15. In its letter, the union had proposed negotiations since October 10, relating solely to its wage demands, postponing its demands for massive investments in France and job creation.

On Sunday, the management responded by saying they were ready to bring forward the annual negotiations until October “sWe reserve the end of the deposit block “. “These negotiations will allow us to define how employees will benefit, by the end of the year, from the exceptional results generated by TotalEnergies, also taking into account inflation for the year 2022”reads the press release.

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Short-term solutions and encouragement for social dialogue

While the crisis lasted and the dialogue got bogged down, the government played on multiple fronts to try to find a way out:

  • Look for short-term solutions to solve supply problems, which are particularly severe in Ile-de-France and Hauts-de-France. One of these consisted in authorizing the circulation of trucks of over 7.5 tons carrying hydrocarbons on Saturday 8, Sunday 9 and Monday 10 October.
  • Reassure the public, remembering that there are fuel reserves and that there are no restrictions on the pump. “We have released strategic shares”, announced Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transition, on Saturday on Franceinfo. His ministry then ended by affirming it “France has ninety days of consumption in strategic stocks throughout its territory and the supply prospects for the weeks and months to come will rule out any risk of a lasting shortage.”
  • Finally, publicly incite TotalEnergies management and trade unions ” so that these salary negotiations are successful and not penalize the French “, as Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne did on Friday. TotalEnergies operates nearly a third of the service stations in France. If the government wanted to remain neutral, the right-wing opposition, through the voice of the president of the Les Républicains group in the Senate, Bruno Retailleau, publicly attacked the CGT that “I cannot take France hostage”.

At noon on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Energy Transition, just over one in five stations (20.7%) had difficulty supplying at least one type of fuel. In Pas-de-Calais and the North, nearly 40% of petrol stations have been affected. Sunday’s data has not yet been disclosed, but according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, “The situation should continue to improve”.

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The world with AFP

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