In view of the ongoing strikes in French refineries and fuel depots, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has threatened further commitments for the necessary personnel. According to the government, the supply bottlenecks at the petrol pumps had worsened over the weekend. If the situation continues to be "very tense" on Monday, more workers would be required to work, Borne said on Sunday evening on television channel TF1. Around 30 percent of the gas stations currently have supply problems with at least one type of fuel. This is "too much".
Borne called on the striking employees of the energy company TotalEnergies to accept the agreement in the wage dispute and "not to block the country".
The strikes in the French oil industry have been going on for three weeks. According to the government, three out of seven refineries in the country and five major fuel depots have been affected. Commuters, taxi drivers, nurses, craftsmen, ambulance drivers and driving instructors are among the hardest hit groups. They put up with long detours and hours of waiting to get fuel.
With the strikes, the employees want to emphasize their demand for inflation compensation and a higher participation of the employees in the company's profits. The CGT union is demanding ten percent more salary from TotalEnergies. The company made a profit of $10.6 billion in the first half of 2022.
Left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for a general strike on Tuesday. Several unions have already announced strikes in transport and public services for the day. According to data from the Department of Energy, the proportion of gas stations with supply problems was 27.3 percent on Saturday. The labor dispute particularly affects TotalEnergies. The negotiations between the group and the union CGT were recently deadlocked.
At some gas stations, the fuel was sold at three euros per liter. The mood in France has been very tense for days. Several thousand people demonstrated in Paris on Sunday against President Emmanuel Macron's policies. Mélenchon's Left Party had called for the "march against expensive living and doing nothing in the climate crisis". As the French news channel BFMTV reported with reference to the organizers, around 140,000 people are said to have taken to the streets, according to the police there were around 30,000.
Concern is spreading in the Élysée Palace that the situation could spark protests similar to those of the yellow vests in 2018 and 2019. At that time, the increase in taxes on fuel was the trigger for extensive social protests.