Strikes to shut half of France's oil refineries: Total group

13th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Total oil group said Wednesday that strikes by its workers were forcing it to shut down all six of its refineries in France -- half the total number in the country.

But a company spokesman said that "there is no fuel supply problem because the depots are full."

He said the firm was starting to shut down its refineries because unions decided to renew a strike they called Tuesday as part of a nationwide protest against pension reform that saw more than a million take to the streets.

At least 11 of mainland France's 12 refineries were affected by that strike, including the six run by Total.

Four affected refineries are situated near Berre in southeastern France, where activity has been disrupted for the past two weeks due to an ongoing strike at oil terminals at the Mediterranean port of Marseille.

Dozens of oil tankers and cargo ships have been stuck waiting outside the ports as the strike, first launched in protest at reform of the port sector, spread to affect all port activities.

The stoppage at the oil terminals had already caused diesel supplies to run out on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

© 2010 AFP

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