At midday, the strikers of one of the two Esso-ExxonMobil refineries in Fos-sur-Mer, who had not been targeted by requisitions, indeed voted for the lifting of the strike, confirmed the CGT and management to AFP.

Employees of the Mardyck depot, belonging to TotalEnergies, “were visited by the police at their home to have them sign a requisition paper and order them to come to work from 2:00 p.m. this afternoon until 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (…) in order to ensure fuel shipment operations” explained Clément Mortier, FO general secretary of the site, to AFP.

This new requisition of striking personnel follows a first targeting the Esso-ExxonMobil depot in Normandy on Wednesday. The government thus intends to supply the pumps in Ile-de-France and in Hauts-de-France, one of the regions most affected by the impact of the strike by TotalEnergies employees, which began on September 27.

On the consumer side, fuel shortages have settled in several regions, putting the nerves of motorists on edge. Motorists everywhere tell of their “trouble”, worse when the vehicle is a working tool.

“I have contracts where I have to take out the trash, where I have to perform cleaning services. And when you don’t have gas and you have a very big tour, it’s a bit complicated “, says in a BP station in Paris Elisabeth Mailhes, self-entrepreneur in cleaning, who is not paid if she does not honor her contracts.

“It’s a disaster,” repeats Enzo Rougès, business manager in the automobile industry. “I have the problem of not being able to open my store until I’m at work. I have the employees at the door, I have everyone waiting for me.”

On the ground, the requisitions were very badly received by the strikers who are demanding wage increases. “We are witnessing the Macronian dictatorship”, reacted to AFP Benjamin Tange, central union delegate of the CGT refining. “What is happening is the anger of several months, several years and a breakdown in social dialogue”.

The CGT, at the helm since the beginning of the conflict, is asking for a 10% wage increase, to compensate for the annual inflation expected between 6 and 7%, and to allow employees to benefit from the enormous profits reaped by the oil group.

TotalEnergies has yet dropped ballast on Thursday morning on wages. He announced in a press release a bonus equivalent to one month’s salary for his employees around the world, coupled with a proposal for a 6% increase in 2023 for French employees.

– “Despise” –

“We do not negotiate in the media”, reacted the CGT coordinator for the group, Eric Sellini. “The management continues to despise the organizations and the strikers,” he added to AFP. The union is calling for the opening of formal wage negotiations between management and the four representative unions.

The strikes affected five out of seven refineries on Thursday (four at TotalEnergies and one at Esso-ExxonMobil), and according to the Ministry of Energy Transition seven large fuel depots out of around 200.

For its part, the CGT energy federation sought to make a splash and called for “the extension of the strike in all energy companies”. Several nuclear power plants were hit on Wednesday by strikes over wage demands.

– “Hand held out” –

Faced with threats of widening conflict, Thursday morning, the government put pressure on TotalEnergies to “increase its wages”.

The CGT must “seize the hand that has been extended” to negotiate, said Thursday on RTL the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, adding that the group had “the capacity” and “therefore the duty” to do so. .

The employers expressed concern this week about the consequences of this strike on the economic life of the country. Especially since it is added to the increase in electricity and gas prices which poses “a major risk” to French industry, estimated Bruno Le Maire, according to whom French industrial production should fall. 10% in the 4th quarter of 2022 compared to the 4th quarter of 2021.