TotalEnergies strikers refuse to lift depot blockages as fuel supply shrinks in France

The situation at TotalEnergies remains at a standstill. At the end of a meeting at the headquarters of the oil giant in La Défense, the striking employees refused a proposal from management to release deliveries.

“It is a massive categorical refusal, [the employees] do not want this requirement to negotiate”, Thierry Dufresne, CGT secretary of the TotalEnergies Europe committee told Agence France-Presse (AFP). TotalEnergies, for its part, confirmed to AFP. the “negative outcome of the night’s discussions”.

The management had agreed for the first time to receive the CGT. Until now, it had required the lifting of the blockages as a prerequisite to seeing the second union of the group.

At the same time, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that the Ministry of Energy Transition has ordered the requisition of personnel essential to the operation of the fuel depot at the ExxonMobil refinery in Port-Jérôme, in Seine-Maritime.

The decree was notified by the director of the site to four employees, two for Wednesday and two for Thursday, who will be forced to come and reopen the floodgates, under penalty of criminal sanctions. Philippe Martinez, leader of the CGT, who came in support of ExxonMobil employees, denounced a “scandalous decision” and announced the filing of an interim order on Thursday, to oppose it.

The strikers at the Flanders depot of TotalEnergies, near Dunkirk, will be the next to be requisitioned, the government has assured.

President Emmanuel Macron has planned a return to normal in the distribution of fuels “during the coming week” during an interview on France 2 on Wednesday evening, also calling it the “responsibility” of the management of TotalEnergies and the CGT.

Six of the seven refineries in France were on strike on Wednesday: the four from TotalEnergies and the two from Esso-ExxonMobil; only that of Lavéra, (Petroineos group) is not blocked. Added to this are the TotalEnergies depots in La Mède (Bouches-du-Rhône) and Flandres, which supply Hauts-de-France, both shut down.

At Esso, an agreement was signed with two majority unions including the CFDT, but not with the CGT. The strike continued at its two refineries. FO, the fourth union among refining employees at TotalEnergies, has also joined the strike.