December 30, 2019 / 5:14 PM / 25 days ago

French union extends blockade of fuel deliveries from Total refinery

FILE PHOTO: The logo of a French oil giant Total is seen at the refinery in Donges, France, December 20, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s hardline CGT trade union voted on Monday to extend a blockade of outbound fuel deliveries from Total’s (TOTF.PA) Grandpuits refinery near Paris until Jan. 6 as part of nationwide protests against a planned pensions reform.

Workers did not vote in favour of halting production, which would continue at a reduced rate, a spokesman for the CGT’s oil branch said.

A Total spokesman confirmed the outcome of Monday’s CGT vote, adding that the energy group was continuing to use other sites to supply its service stations in the Paris region.

Some 50 Total service stations out of a 3,500-strong network in France were experiencing fuel shortages as of Monday morning, the spokesman said. That compares with around 100 outlets affected before Christmas.

The 102,000 barrel-per-day Grandpuits refinery is one of four crude oil refineries operated by Total in France. The other three were operating normally on Monday, the spokesman said.

Some fuel was also leaving Grandpuits by pipeline in order to avoid storage capacity being filled, according to Total.

The CGT union has been at the forefront of industrial action against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed overhaul of France’s retirement system, with strikes crippling train services for over three weeks.

Unions are planning to ramp up action next week when negotiations with the government resume.

The CGT spokesman said its oil section was planning major protests over Jan. 7-10.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Gus Trompiz; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva and Jan Harvey

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