All twelve French oil refineries are in the grip of the strike. Only one of them is still able to produce anything.
At Grandpuits outside Paris, striking workers received government legal notices ordering them back to work, a move condemned as strong-arm tactics by the unions.
But the industrial action is slowly choking the supply of fuel to French road users. According to one estimate 1,800 of France’s 12,500 filling stations have been affected. The oil industry lobby said France could have serious fuel supply problems by mid-week. The government has been forced to dip into its strategic reserves.
Truck drivers joined the industrial action against pension reforms blocking roads and depots, and slowing up traffic around several busy towns and cities.
The growing unrest has turned this into a ‘make-or-break’ week for President Sarkozy’s unpopular plan to raise the pension age. Even the leader of the president’s UMP party in the Senate has said the vote scheduled for Wednesday should be delayed by a day.