French oil refinery workers extend strike

3rd February 2010, Comments 0 comments

The strike has been extended by three weeks even though Total says it will delay making a decision on whether to close the oil refinery in northern France.

Dunkerque – Workers at a northern France oil refinery on Tuesday extended a three-week-old strike even though the owners, Total, have postponed a decision on whether to close the facility, union officials said.

The future of the Flanders refinery near the port of Dunkerque has become a hot political issue since the government intervened to press Total to keep it open. The oil giant has now delayed a decision until the end of June.

"Leaving people to wait six months is scandalous, it’s an insult to everyone," said SUD union delegate Philippe Wuyllens at a meeting after the strike started on 12 January was extended.

Total has cited a decline in sales of refined products for its decision to halt operations at the refinery, which employs 370 people directly and 450 sub-contractors.

It is one of six refineries run by Total in France.

Total has said that if Flanders is closed it will set up a technical assistance centre and a training school that would employ up to two thirds of the 370 full time workers.

AFP / Expatica

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