A strike over new labour laws has spread to all of France’s eight oil refineries, the CGT union says, in an escalating dispute with the government.
An estimated 20% of petrol stations have either run dry or are low on supplies.
Clashes broke out at one refinery early on Tuesday when police broke up a picket at Fos-sur-Mer in Marseille.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls insisted the labour laws would stand, and that further pickets would be broken up.
“That’s enough. It’s unbearable to see this sort of thing,” he told French radio. “The CGT will come up against an extremely firm response from the government. We’ll carry on clearing sites blocked by this organisation.”
The strike has gradually spread across France’s fuel infrastructure, hitting oil refineries, fuel depots and petrol stations across the country.
The government said two out of every 10 petrol stations were affected, but motorists uploaded details of many more that had problems with supplies.
Police moved in early at dawn on Tuesday to dismantle a blockade outside the Fos-sur-Mer oil refinery and petrol depot at Marseille port.
Tear gas and water cannon were fired, projectiles thrown, and tyres and pallets set alight, reports said. Several people were hurt on both sides.
In his first intervention in the dispute, President Francois Hollande denounced the blockade as a “strategy supported by a minority”.
The union is aiming to cut output by half at the refineries and wants strikes on the railways as well, in an attempt to reverse labour laws that make it easier for companies to hire and fire staff.
There are concerns that the disruption may affect the Euro 2016 football championships, with one former union leader saying the event is not “sacred”.
The government provoked union outrage when it resorted to a constitutional device to force its watered-down labour reforms through parliament without a vote, earlier this month.
Source : http://classfmonline.com/1.9233939