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Anti-pension reform strikes end


Anti-pension reform strikes end


Workers at France’s biggest oil port, the Fos-Lavera terminal near Marseille, have voted to end a month-long strike handing victory to President Nicolas Sarkozy in his showdown with unions over pension reform.

Walkouts also ended at the Le Havre oil terminal in northern France and various refineries, including Total’s facility at Gonfreville where striker leader Fabrice Modeste of the CGT union tried to put the best face on it.

He said: “It’s the end of the strike at Total and for the oil companies, but our fight goes on because we’re still determined. Our feelings are absolutely unchanged, so we go on.”

The oil strikes ended one day after low turnout for street marches showed waning enthusiasm for the protests.

One man on the streets of the French city of Lyon summed up what many are thinking when he said: “You can feel it’s running out of steam. People have accepted these reforms. Now it’s just going to gradually fade away.”

Total, which owns half of the 12 French refineries that were closed down said it lost a total of 100 million euros during the walkouts.

At the same time the company – which is the third largest energy firm in Europe – posted strong third-quarter results.

Its adjusted net profit rose by almost a third to 2.48 billion euros.

The strikes has closed service stations across France.

When the Marseille stoppage ended 38 crude oil and 20 oil product tankers were being blockaded.

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