New bid planned to end 15-day port strike
MARSEILLE, France, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - Management and labor are to mount a fresh bid Thursday to end a 15-day dockers' strike at the port of Marseille that threatens to impose petrol shortages in France starting next week.
A meeting at the regional government headquarters will bring together the CGT trade union and management representatives from the key Mediterranean port and French gas utility GDF.
The CGT launched the strike on March 14 to demand the recruitment of port workers at a new GDF gas terminal at Fos-sur-Mer. GDF argues that for safety reasons it will employ only its own staff.
The action has depressed activity in roughly half the country’s 13 refineries.
About 50 ships, including 26 oil tankers, were earlier this week anchored off the port.
“The lack of supplies means that some refineries are going to start eating into reserves from this week and slowing down production. The first problems for private consumers could appear at the start of April,” said Jean-Francois Cousinie, of the French Union of Petroleum Industries.
An association of small and medium-sized businesses appealed to governing authorities on Wednesday “to take vigorous” action to bring the stoppage to a close, warning that its economic effects could begin to have a negative impact on the nation as a whole.
“The French economy must not again be held hostage to a labor dispute that could paralyse fuel supplies,” the associaiton, the CGPME, insisted in a statement.
Subject: French news