Almost one in five service stations in France had supply difficulties on Friday, October 7, according to the Minister for the Ecological Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher. A figure that has continued to rise throughout the week: on Wednesday, 12% of the service stations had supply problems with at least one of their fuels, on Thursday, 15% and, finally, on Friday the 19 %.
Some vendors, such as System U, claim that these figures are underestimates. These supply difficulties are due to a social movement in three Esso and Total refineries linked to wage demands: “More than 80% of the stations in the territory are operating normally”tried to reassure Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
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The situation is not the same in all regions. The north of France is very disturbed for example: still according to the ministry, 42% of the Pas de Calais service stations and 43% of those in the north were faced on Friday with breakages in at least one fuel. In total, in Hauts-de-France, 30% of the territory’s service stations are in difficulty.
Since Wednesday, users are prohibited from filling jerry cans at the Nord, Pas-de-Calais and Somme stations. The three prefects call for “civility” and “citizen behavior” to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. The Somme prefecture thus recalls that “The services that provide school, intercity and rail transportation are in a position to guarantee the continuity of their services.”
To allow the greatest number of motorists to refuel, the prefecture of Vaucluse limits as of this Saturday the purchase and sale of fuel to a maximum of 30 liters for private vehicles and 120 liters for professional vehicles, more than 3.5 tons, reports France Blue. Vaucluse. Public service or company vehicles performing a public service mission are not affected by this limitation. The sale and purchase of fuel in drums or drums is prohibited until October 11 inclusive.
In Aisne, emergency and rescue services, medical and paramedical staff, as well as people with public authority have access to priority queues at certain stations between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The prefecture has also prohibited from Friday and until October 13 “the sale, purchase, distribution and transportation of fuels in any manually transportable container”.
The prefectures of Vosges and Val-d’Oise issued orders this Friday to prohibit until October 12 the sale and purchase of fuel in cans and drums to face the supply difficulties that have arisen in recent days in the departments.
According to Total Energies, this tension is explained by the proximity of the border: as prices are somewhat lower in France, neighboring motorists are more tempted to come to stock up there. But the situation has improved slightly in the region, thanks to the contributions of the State’s strategic stocks, called to the rescue, which have made it possible to increase the quantities in circulation. These strategic reserves were also used in Ile de France, where the situation is particularly tense, such as in Bouches du Rhône.
These figures then terrified motorists, who feared a shortage, and flocked to gas stations. If throughout this week the trend has been down, we can still expect, in the best of cases, a few difficult days: in any case, the situation will remain tense during the weekend. The government has taken measures to improve the situation: in addition to the opening of strategic stocks, the circulation of tank trucks is authorized on weekends, which will allow the pace of deliveries to be increased. The Minister for the Ecological Transition, Agnès Pannier Runacher, has also encouraged carriers “take advantage of these flexibility measures to be able to [les] help facilitate the delivery of fuel to service stations that need it.” But according to one of the major dealers, there probably won’t be a return to anything close to normal before Tuesday, or even Wednesday.
As for the negotiations to end the strike, the end of the crisis is still far away. At Total Energies, the strikers refuse to wait for the date of the mandatory annual negotiations, scheduled for November 15. However, these have been advanced two months. For its part, management refuses to argue. The situation is also blocked at the two Esso refineries.
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Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne therefore calls on everyone to be responsible, and Emmanuel Macron assures that Esso and Total are “in the process of finalizing salary negotiations”although they haven’t started yet. The Minister for the Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, emphasized addressing the “Company management and staff representatives who are affected by this social movement”appeal “Your responsibility to find a solution as soon as possible.” “I renew a call of confidence to the French, we are making sure to guarantee the presence of fuel in the territory, it is important that everyone fill up normally”concludes.