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More fuel frustration as French pickets refuse to back down

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More fuel frustration as French pickets refuse to back down

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  • CGT: strikes to continue over labour law reforms
  • More petrol stations run dry
  • Picket action spreads to ports and power plants
  • Government stands firm

A fuel crisis in France seems to be getting worse as more and more petrol stations run dry. At least seven possibly all eight of the country’s oil refineries are now being blockaded in a government-versus-union showdown over unpopular labour law reforms.

Motorists queuing to fill their cars in Paris expressed irritation over the industrial action:

“There is no petrol anywhere. I feel upset because we seem to be have been taken hostage by this strike, which has quickly spread. So yes I am upset. But then I understand, I understand why they must go on strike, and why we must respect it. But for people who work, it is not practical.”

At the Fos-sur-Mer refinery police on Tuesday broke up a blockade only to have access roads damaged preventing the movement of delivery tankers.

The influential CGT union has also called weekly strikes on the SNCF state railways and the Paris metro in the run up to the Euro 2016 football tournament.

Some ships are also being prevented from docking due to industrial action at several ports and union members are said to be considering taking action at nuclear power plants.

Even so the government says its labour laws will stand and experts say emergency stocks are sufficient to keep the country’s fuel stations in operation for up to two months.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has also warned that the pickets will not be tolerated for long and that “enough is enough”.

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