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More French fuel strife though major blockade ends

More French fuel strife though major blockade ends
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A blockade at France’s biggest oil port has ended but protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms look set to continue.

Unions will stage their next nationwide day of action on Thursday.

As access to the oil depot at Fos-sur-Mer near Marseille resumed, tankers lined up to take advantage of precious fuel supplies.

Strikes and blockades at refineries and depots in protest at the pension overhaul have caused widespread shortages. No fuel depots are now being blocked according to an oil industry lobby.

The parliamentary passage of the controversial bill continues with a common text agreed upon by the lower and upper houses.

Pierre Mehaignerie, the head of the parliamentary commission in charge and a member of the ruling UMP party, said that in the light of longer life expectancy, there was no other solution but to raise the retirement age.

While some refinery staff have voted to go back to work, supply problems continue at one in three petrol stations. A government minister has said the strikes and protests could be costing France up to 400 million euros a day.