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Strike continues at three Total refineries in France

12.18.2013  | 

Industrial action at three French refineries of Total, the nation’s biggest oil company, entered its sixth day, as a strike at La Mede facility “remains strong” amid a pay dispute, a union official said.



Industrial action at three French refineries of Total, the nation’s biggest oil company, entered its sixth day, as a strike at La Mede facility “remains strong” amid a pay dispute, a union official said.

The strike at the Gonfreville, Feyzin and La Mede refineries remains, with 20% of all staff participating, according to an official at Paris-based Total, who asked not to be identified citing corporate policy

Gonfreville and La Mede have halted output, while units at Feyzin are being shut, Dimitri Guiller, a representative of CFDT union, said by phone. About 90% of staff on the 4 a.m. local time shift at La Mede have walked out, Julien Granato, a CGT union official at the site said by phone.

Europe has to shut refining capacity somewhere, and other European refineries will not mind French workers pushing themselves out of the picture,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of Zug, Switzerland-based Petromatrix GmbH, said in an e-mailed report today.

Total’s five refineries in France, including the Donges and Grandpuits facilities, have a capacity to process about 800,000 bpd of crude, or 60% of the nation’s output, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Demand for oil products in France averaged 1.76 million bpd in the third quarter, according to data from the International Energy Agency published on Dec. 11.

Diesel purchases

Industrial action over pay started at the refineries on Dec. 13, the day when salary negotiations began with Total, according to CGT. The CFDT and CGC-CFE unions agreed to a pay deal with the company Dec. 16, and an acceptance of the deal by two unions was “sufficient for any agreement to be deemed valid,” Vienna-based researcher JBC Energy GmbH said.

The Donges and Grandpuits refineries are boosting production after workers there voted earlier this week to end the strike action, the Total official said in an e-mailed response to questions. Staff at Donges voted earlier today whether to accept the pay agreement and ballots are being counted, Christophe Hiou, a CGT official, said by phone.

The company bought a diesel cargo and four barges of the fuel on Tuesday totaling almost 30,000 metric tons for delivery in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp oil-hub via the Platts pricing window, according to a survey of traders and brokers. It had purchased 8,500 tons the previous day.

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The refinery margins are nowdays nil or negative in Europe for most of the time,sometime positive.Price of products ex-refineries cannot be increased due to the increase of VAT in France for 2014.
Some refineries have to close in France in the Total Group.The striking refineries are the traditionnal red ones where the CGT has a lot of support.The more exposed one are Feyzin (inland) and La Mede where the social climate is very demanding.Let see what Mister Patrick Pouyanet,the new boss of the refining will decide.

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