Under Government Pressure, Total Pledges Jobs to Refinery Workers
February 2, 2010
Business Week reports French oil company Total SA has promised jobs for workers at its Flanders refinery, after pressure from the French government. The company also said it hasn''t made a decision on the future of the Dunkerque site in northern France, which has been inactive since September. The oil company said in a statement that it is committed to "ensuring that the Flanders establishment has a future within the group." Total said it hopes to make a final decision in June over the refinery, which was shut "in response to the structural, permanent decline in petroleum product demand." Unions say the site employs 370 workers and 450 subcontractors. Two-thirds of the jobs at the site could be saved through setting up a technical support center and a training school, the company said. It promised each employee a job at Total that fits with his or her competencies. Workers protested the closure at the company''s headquarters outside Paris. Before the statement, Industry Minister Christian Estrosi said in a radio interview that Total''s job guarantees weren''t sufficient, and without them the government wouldn''t allow the site''s closure. He also said that Total and France''s state controlled electricity provider EDF were in talks to develop a methane plant.