PARIS, 12 Oct – PRIME. French President Emmanuel Macron said that the crisis in the supply of fuel to gas stations amid ongoing strikes at TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil refineries will be overcome over the next week.
“The situation will return to normal within the next week. This is a social conflict between management and employees at the two enterprises. And I call both sides to account. The agreement with Esso-ExxonMobil has been signed. The Prime Minister has announced that the strike will be ended, and I support it’s because there are people who are always ready to go even further. This situation is unacceptable,” Macron said in an interview with France 2 TV on Wednesday.
The president denied accusations that the government should have prevented the situation from worsening. “We always think that everything depends on the president and the government. Everyone should be in their place and take responsibility. There is an enterprise, its head and shareholders, there are employees. Nobody should interfere in this social dialogue. But I stand for dialogue, and not for blocking the state,” he added.
Strikes at TotalEnergies refineries began on September 27, demanding a 10% increase in wages and indexing wages for 2022 to record high inflation.
At the moment, four of the five plants owned by the company are blocked: the largest refinery in France near the city of Le Havre in Normandy, which accounts for 22% of France’s oil refining capacity, as well as refineries in the communes of Feysin and Donge, the La Mede biorefinery in the commune of Châteauneuf-le -Martigues and Grandpuis fuel storage.
Also, strikes are taking place at the Fos refinery and the Port-Jerome-Gravenchon refinery of Esso-Exxonmobil.
Earlier Wednesday, French authorities said they would begin to unblock an oil storage facility at the Port-Jerome-Gravenchon refinery.
The strikes resulted in a lack of fuel at every third gas station in the country. Nearly 80% of French people believe the authorities are not handling the crisis at the country’s refineries, according to an Elabe poll for BFMTV published on Wednesday.