French unions to discuss further strikes after refinery closure

11 March 2010 11:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Unions at French refineries will meet on Thursday to decide whether to continue their strike action after Total said it would permanently shut down its Dunkirk refinery.

Total announced on 8 March that its refining operations at Dunkirk in France would be permanently closed as a result of a collapse in demand for petroleum products in Europe and the US, which compelled it to adjust its refining capacity, particularly in northern France.

At the time, a company spokesperson said the CGT union was disappointed that Total’s new “repurposing” plan, which outlined intentions to open new business ventures at the site, was insufficient and had not included any industrial projects or propositions to restart refinery operations.

The oil giant said it planned to open an operations support centre, a refining training centre and a logistics depot at the site, and stressed there would be no job losses, saying it would retain two-thirds of employees at the site, with the remainder either redeployed to other Total facilities or offered early retirement.

On 10 March, CGT called for a 24-hour strike to take place on 15 April at all oil refineries in France, which would coincide with the date when the French government intends to hold discussions on the country’s refining future.

Last month, around 7,000 direct employees, suppliers and subcontractors at Total’s French refineries went on strike for a week to demand a restart of the Dunkirk site.

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By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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