French refiners are pushing for a deal to end strikes as one in three gas stations runs out of fuel

TotalEnergies yesterday proposed bringing forward annual wage negotiations in response to union calls to try to end a protracted strike that has disrupted supplies to nearly a third of the country’s petrol stations.

Subject to the blockades being lifted and all employee representatives agreeing, the company is proposing to bring the start of mandatory annual wage talks forward to October,” it said in a statement. Talks were originally scheduled to begin in mid-November.

Union officials earlier said the strikes of the CGT, historically one of France’s more militant unions, would continue.

They disrupted operations at two ExxonMobil locations as well as two TotalEnergies locations.

During roughly two weeks of industrial action, France’s domestic fuel production has fallen by more than 60 percent, straining nerves across the country as queues grow and supplies run dry.

Almost a third of France’s petrol stations had problems with the supply of at least one fuel product yesterday, up from 21 percent the previous day, the energy minister’s office said.

France has released strategic reserves and increased imports, Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said in Emmanuel Macron’s government.

“These additional volumes should allow the situation to improve as the day progresses Monday,” she said in a statement. At ExxonMobil, collective bargaining has been going on for weeks, while at TotalEnergies the CGT said it was trying to get management to the bargaining table ahead of the formal talks scheduled for next month.

TotalEnergies employees are targeting a 10 percent pay rise from this year after a surge in energy prices resulted in huge gains that have enabled the company to pay an estimated €8 billion in dividends and an additional special dividend to investors.

The company’s CEO said last week “the time has come to reward workers” but the company has so far refused to enter into negotiations. A CGT representative said the union would not comment on TotalEnergie’s offer before informing workers. v

The CFDT union, France’s largest union, which has not called strikes despite calls for a similar pay rise, said in a statement it was ready to start wage negotiations in October.

ExxonMobil in France did not immediately respond to a request for comment. French refiners are pushing for a deal to end strikes as one in three gas stations runs out of fuel

Fry Electronics Team

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