How to restore the situation at French service stations? Late on Monday, October 10, the Government increased the pressure on the unions and the management of the blocked refineries to negotiate, while almost a third of the service stations continue to be affected by the fuel shortage in France, and that the CGT renewed its strike action for Tuesday. And so the word “requisition” was uttered during a late meeting, at Matignon, between the Prime Minister and four interested ministers.
>> Fuel shortage: follow the evolution of the situation live
Despite repeated calls from the government to negotiate wages and end the blockades, the CGT and TotalEnergies management have been unable to reach an agreement. Faced with this impasse, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who had just returned from a trip to Algiers, urgently gathered several ministers in Matignon in the afternoon, in order to devise the most effective way out of the crisis. The Government is committed to a rapid resolution of the conflict in Esso-ExxonMobil: several unions have thus signed an agreement with the management, although the strike will continue on Tuesday. The government hopes that the unblocking of refineries will begin, therefore, in the next few hours.
In Total it is different: the government wants the management to take the hand extended by certain unions for the opening of quick negotiations. If the strike is not lifted in the next few days, the government”will assume its responsibilities to guarantee the supply of the French“, we are told. In short: either he is content with continuing to increase the pressure on all the actors, or he goes to the “requisition” refineries. This can be decided by the prefects on behalf of “continuity of public service” in particular. Concretely, this would consist of releasing pickets, if necessary by calling the police, for designated employees to work. This was already seen in 2010. This last option sounds like one last pressure to bring everyone back .at the negotiating table.
“A salary disagreement does not justify blocking the country. Refusing to discuss is turning the French into victims of the lack of dialogue“commented Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s entourage.”The government cannot allow the country to lock down“, he insisted: “It will continue to take measures to facilitate the supply of the stations as it has been doing for several days.“, but “everyone must take responsibility. The government will take its“.
It is in this tense context that the government released a “temporary solidarity contribution“, a kind of tax on superprofits who does not say his name and which will not please the oil groups, TotalEnergies in the lead. The executive has thus presented a modification to the 2023 finance bill aimed at introducing an exceptional contribution on the surplus profits of the oil industries. This contribution, up to 33%, would affect companies whose results exceed the average of the last four years by 20%. It is, in fact, a French version of a measure taken by the 27 at European level.