Oil Workers Expand Strikes at French Refineries
October 18, 2010
The Associated Press reports, over the weekend French oil workers expanded a strike over government plans to raise the retirement age, while European discontent over belt-tightening measures flared up in Portugal, Italy and Greece. All of France''s oil refineries were on strike, and the government deployed police to force the reopening of several fuel depots around the country that had been blocked, raising concerns of possible gas shortages. As French students clashed with police and labor leaders planned more nationwide demonstrations, discontent over government austerity plans seemed to spread across the continent. In France, workers at all 12 fuel-producing refineries were on strike after two plants owned by Exxon Mobil and Petroplus voted to join the protest, said Charles Foulard, a union coordinator at oil company Total SA. France''s transport minister authorized oil companies to use some of their reserves after trucking companies complained of difficulties fueling their vehicles. Dominique Bussereau told French radio station RTL that the country''s stocks of fuel meant there was no reason for drivers to fear a gas shortage.