Macron misery as petrol stations run dry after crippling strikes across France

Emmanuel Macron is on a collision course with the unions over controversial pension reforms and is threatening a snap election if he does not get his way.

Petrol stations along France's borders have run dry on the ninth day of crippling strikes which have disrupted petroleum company TotalEnergies' refining and delivery of oil products. Roughly 12 percent of service stations are experiencing shortages, with the number in the northern Hauts-de-France region at 30 percent, government spokesperson Olivier Veran said.

The Hauts-de-France region also announced it was banning the sale of petrol and diesel in jerry cans and other portable containers, expanding the area from the initial announcement in the Pas-de-Calais department.

The UFIP petroleum industry body said problems at service stations were due to logistics and not insufficient supplies.

A spokesman said: "The situation is tense but there is currently no shortages in supply due to the strikes.”

A walkout by hard-left CGT trade union members at TotalEnergies has disrupted operations at two refineries and two storage facilities, while two Exxon Mobil refineries have faced similar problems since September 20.

The action remains the same as previous days, CGT spokesperson Thierry Defresne said, while adding the strike at TotalEnergies' Feyzin refinery - which had allowed a few deliveries through on Tuesday - had tightened again.

However, TotalEnergies said repair works were currently underway at the 119,000 barrel per day refinery in southern France and only the loading and unloading of fuel.

The trade union is demanding a 10 percent salary increase to help catch up with soaring inflation, a massive investment plan and the hiring of temporary workers, Mr Defresne said.

So far, management is refusing a catch-up salary increase for 2022, and only wants to negotiate 2023 wages, he added.

The UFIP has previously said France has enough strategic reserves of oil products to cover average demand for about three months.