Impact of Strike at Total`s French Refineries Limited

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  • TEMPO.CO, Paris - A strike at Total's French refineries, oil depots and service stations called by the hardline CGT union had failed to muster much support by Thursday morning, company and union officials said.

    "Nothing to report in refineries, depots and stations this morning at 10 am (0800 GMT)," a Total spokesman said, adding that the La Mede plant near Marseille remained shut following a strike by local workers which started last month.

    The move by France's biggest union was an attempt to extend protests by La Mede workers against Total's plans to end crude oil processing at the site on the Mediterranean, prompted by vast overcapacity in Europe as oil demand declines.

    The company plans to cut 180 out of 430 jobs at the 153,000 barrels-per-day plant, as well as investing 200 million euros ($225 million) there to create France's first biorefinery.

    An official from the moderate CFDT union, which has not called for a strike, said the CGT had failed to mobilise in refineries but planned to block a Total service station at the La Defense business district of Paris this morning.

    No CGT union official was immediately available to comment. The union has argued that shutting crude oil refining at La Mede would worsen France's reliance on fuel imports, including from Total's new Jubail plant in Saudi Arabia.