France warns against run on pumps in refinery strike
France's government Thursday urged drivers not to rush to the petrol pumps, insisting stocks would last despite the shutdown of refineries by a strike against President Nicolas Sarkozy's pensions reform.
"We have as much (petrol) as we need for at least a month," said Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau on LCI television. "If there is no more panic buying, we have all we need to get by," he added.
"Above all I say to motorists: do not run to fill up your tank or your petrol supplies, you do not need to."
There were scattered reports of panic buying causing tail-backs at filling stations and local shortages on Wednesday when strikes shut down 70 percent of France's refining capacity.
Wednesday saw dozens of follow-on actions a day after a massive nationwide protest brought more than a million workers and students into the streets.
Sarkozy has vowed to push through the reform, which would raise the standard retirement age from 60 to 62, part of efforts to rein in France's public deficit. Critics say the plan places an unfair burden on workers.
© 2010 AFP