Petrol scarcity looms in France as oil refinery workers strike.
French Industry Minister Christian Estrosi tried to assure the country's car drivers Monday that service stations would not run out of petrol as a strike of workers at oil giant Total's refineries went into its sixth day. "The government will undertake measures so that France will not be blocked," Estrosi told Europe 1 radio, promising that "there will be no problem with (petrol) supplies."
The strike by Total oil refinery workers continued Monday after negotiations between company representatives and trade unions broke off late Sunday with no results.
The job action was called to protest the threatened closing of one of Total's six French refineries. Total head Christope de Margeries said late Sunday, after the meeting with Estrosi, that a final decision on the refinery would be taken in late March.
However, he vowed not to shut down the site completely and to put in place another form of activity that would protect some of the jobs.
Total produces half of the petrol pumped at French service stations. However, trade union officials have said that workers at two refineries run by Exxonmobil would join the strike Tuesday.
According to French media reports, petrol stocks could begin to run short in about 10 days.