TotalEnergies: The frenzy around the pumps, as the strike continues
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TotalEnergies: The frenzy around the pumps, as the strike continues

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

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

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

“We’ve been dry since Sunday,” the director of a TotalEnergies station in a working-class district of Paris said on Thursday, who wished to remain anonymous.

Its pumps were surrounded by red and white warning tape to encourage motorists to continue their drive a little further. “Do you have diesel?” A customer asks, before leaving without asking for his convenience when a negative is answered.

“Because it’s cheaper, everyone comes to us,” the manager explains, referring to the 20-cent pump discount given since September 1 by TotalEnergies, as well as the state rebate.

To this influx of clients, the consequences of the strike action on the call of the CGT, which is calling for a 10% salary increase for 2022, are now added.

“Usually, we get delivered every two days, now every three or four days,” the station manager testified.

“We are asking for a 10% increase: 7% for inflation and 3% for wealth sharing,” the representative of the CGT union for the Normandy refinery, Pierre-Yves Hauguel, said on the sidelines of a public meeting.

“During the first six months of the year,” he recalls, TotalEnergies generated “more than 20 billion euros in profit” and “we expect it to reach 30 billion at the end of the year.”

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

“We are in the process of boosting oil supplies from Belgium and from Rouen, by boat (…). In addition, we have already released some strategic stocks to support oil tankers faster,” she explained. Improving the situation “will take two or three days beforehand.”

In contact with Agence France-Presse, the group’s management indicated that “the situation is stable.”

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

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

TotalEnergies, which operates nearly one in three service stations in France, declines to report the number of dry stations, but its online map shows that most of its 3,500 points of sale lack one or more fuels.

From the north to the south of France, motorists look for open stations, and when they find them, they have to queue for a long time. Like Mahe Meridian, 34, near Rennes Ring Road Thursday morning, the gauge was in red: “This is the second stop I’ve been to, I got out not far and there was no diesel.”

– ‘Stretched’ –

AFP noted that on many of Marseille’s main avenues, nearly half of the stations were closed, and many motorists – several dozen vehicles – were queuing in the hope of filling up in front of the open ones.

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

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

The problems will continue.

“Each of the sites has told us to renew the strike,” Thierry Deverson, CGT secretary to the European Labor Council, TotalEnergies SE, told AFP.

The Normandy refinery, which has closed its doors, is still on strike, as are the “Bio-refinery” Lamede (Bouché-du-Rhone) and the fuel depot in Flanders near Dunkirk (North).

The “loading base” is also blocked at Grandpuits (Seine-et-Marne), a site that is being turned into a “bio-filter” that sometimes gets into the action.

The strike also affects French refiners Esso-ExxonMobil, as well as wages.

“It’s tense,” asserts Francis Buss, head of service stations and new energies within the professional union Mobiliance (auto service companies) that represents 5,800 traditional service stations (excluding mass distribution).

And if he asserted that since the beginning of September, “even before the failure of the industrial equipment, the stations of the French oil tanker were in a state of tension,” he added that “the reorganization of logistics” has become necessary because of the conflict. , which creates a “significantly longer time to replenish the station”.

We have no shortage, he adds, because we have B-plans, ‘with the import of products’ that have been ‘strengthened’.

#TotalEnergies #frenzy #pumps #strike #continues

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