TotalEnergies: Frenzy around the pumps, while the strike continues – 06/10/2022 at 22:11


Dry pumps at a service station in Marseille, October 6, 2022 (AFP/Nicolas TUCAT)

The anguish of motorists was palpable this Thursday at many service stations in France, often deprived of all or part of their fuel due to a wage strike at TotalEnergies, which has been going on for ten days and has blocked several refineries. 15% of service stations are concerned according to the government.

“We have been dry since Sunday,” a TotalEnergies station manager in a working-class district of Paris, who wishes to remain anonymous, testified Thursday.

His bombs were surrounded by red and white warning tape to encourage motorists to follow their search a little further. “Do you have diesel?” asks a customer, before leaving without asking for a break when the answer is negative.

“Since it’s cheaper, everyone comes to us,” explains the manager, referring to the 20-cent discount on pumps that TotalEnergies has been granting since September 1, in addition to the state discount.

To this influx of clients are now added the consequences of the strike movement to the call of the CGT, which demands a salary increase of 10% for the year 2022.

“Normally they deliver us every two days, now it’s every three, four days,” testified the station chief who, otherwise, “has no information.”

“We ask for an increase of 10%: 7% for inflation and 3% for the distribution of wealth,” said the CGT union representative of the Normandy refinery, Pierre-Yves Hauguel, on the sidelines of a general assembly.

“During the first six months of the year”, he recalls, TotalEnergies “obtained more than 20,000 million euros in profits” and “we expect it to be 30,000 million at the end of the year”.

“We are talking about a situation that affects 15% of service stations”, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister of Energy Transition, wanted to reassure on Thursday night on BFM TV.

“We are in the process of strengthening oil supplies from Belgium and from Rouen, by ship … Also, in fact, we have released some strategic stocks to support tankers more quickly,” he explained, adding. that the improvement of the situation “will take two, three days a priori”.

Contacted by AFP, the group’s leadership indicated that “the situation is stable.”

Motorists wait to refuel in front of a TotalEnergies service station in Marseille, on October 6, 2022 (AFP / Nicolas TUCAT)

Motorists wait to refuel in front of a TotalEnergies service station in Marseille, on October 6, 2022 (AFP / Nicolas TUCAT)

TotalEnergies, which runs nearly one in three service stations in France, refuses to disclose the number of dry stations, but its online map shows that most of its 3,500 sales outlets lack one or more fuels.

From north to south of France, motorists look for open stations and when they find them, they have to stand in long queues. Like Mahé Miredin, 34, near the Rennes bypass on Thursday morning, the indicator was red: “This is the second station I’ve been to, I left not far and there was no diesel.”

– “It’s stretched” –

On several major boulevards in Marseille, almost half the stations were closed and many motorists – several dozen vehicles – queued up waiting to fill up in front of the open ones, AFP noted.

Motorists wait to refuel in front of a TotalEnergies service station in Marseille, on October 6, 2022 (AFP / Nicolas TUCAT)

Motorists wait to refuel in front of a TotalEnergies service station in Marseille, on October 6, 2022 (AFP / Nicolas TUCAT)

And the problems will continue.

“Each of the sites told us that the strike had been renewed,” Thierry Defresne, CGT secretary of the European works council TotalEnergies SE, told AFP.

The Normandy refinery, which has been closed, is still on strike, as are the La Mède “biorefinery” (Bouches-du-Rhône) and the Flandres fuel depot, near Dunkirk (north).

“The charging base is blocked” also in Grandpuits (Seine-et-Marne), a site that is becoming a “biorefinery” that occasionally goes into motion.

A strike also affects the two French refineries of Esso-ExxonMobil, also for wages.

“It’s tense,” confirms Francis Pousse, president of Service Stations and New Energies of the professional union Mobiliance (automotive service companies) that represents 5,800 traditional service stations (excluding large distribution).

If he underlines that since the beginning of September, “even before the interruption of the industrial tool, the French tanker stations were in tension”, he adds that “a reorganization of logistics” is now necessary because of the conflict. , creating “a much longer station provisioning time”.

“We are not in shortage, since we have plans B”, with the importation of products” that has been “reinforced”, tempers.

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