Thousands strike across France amid fuel shortages

Commuters faced delays as thousands took to the streets across France on Tuesday and labor unions staged a nationwide strike demanding higher salaries. This is due to ongoing standoffs with the government over strikes at oil depots that have caused fuel shortages.

Nadine, a 45-year-old worker in the metalworking industry who was among more than 1,000 demonstrators in Strasbourg, northeastern France, said: “It’s a shame we had to lock down for something to happen.” said.

Among a crowd of about 1,800 people marching in the southern city of Montpellier, medical secretary Magali Marais said she was there because many workers were “living on the edge of a knife.”

The broader strike came after workers at several oil refineries and depots run by energy giant Total Energy Corp. voted to extend their strike.

Drivers are scrambling to fill up their tanks as the nearly three-week long fuel strike has ripple effects across all sectors of the economy.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said less than a quarter of petrol stations nationwide were running low, down from 30% previously.

But his government is also urging bosses to grant salary requests, with Interior Minister Gérald Dalmanin saying on Tuesday that there was a “salary problem” in France, telling employers to “raise salaries as much as possible”. ‘ he urged.

Henia Abidi, a 32-year-old engineer at a nuclear power plant north of Gravelines, said he is not normally a protester.

Grid operator RTE warned on Tuesday that a “growing social movement” at a nuclear power plant would have “serious consequences” for electricity supplies this winter.

But France’s state-owned energy supplier EDF said on Saturday it was postponing plans to bring five of its shutdown reactors back into operation.

The move is the biggest challenge for unions since Mr Macron won a new presidential term in May.

– A nervous fall? –

Beyond transportation workers, the union hoped to attract staff from sectors such as the food industry and health care.

Macron also seeks to implement his major domestic policy of raising the retirement age in France, so their actions kick off what could be a tense autumn and winter.

One in three French people are ready to join strikes or protests in the coming weeks and demand higher wages as inflation soars, according to an Elabe Group poll. .

first published as Thousands strike across France amid fuel shortages

Thousands strike across France amid fuel shortages

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