Total: five out of six French refineries are shut down

PARIS - Two of Total's six French refineries are now shut down and three others are in “shutdown phase”. This state of affairs is the result of the strike launched by the CGT and the CFDT to denounce the abolition of the Whit Monday holiday in the company.

The oil group, the leading European refiner, however assured that there would not be, "in the medium term", supply problems for the 5626 service stations (including around 2000 under the Elan brand) that it has in France. The Ministry of Industry had for its part said Thursday that there was "no risk of shortage in the short term".

This is however not the opinion of Charles Foulard, central CGT union delegate. On the basis of information gathered in the field, he assures us that “certain deposits are living their last hours”. He even suspects the multinational of drawing on France's strategic reserves.

He said there was still no resumption of dialogue with senior management. "The prerequisite" for any suspension of the movement was "the withdrawal of the application of the law on the day of solidarity," he added. “Employees are more determined than ever, they will go to the end. "

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The strike comes a few days after the general meeting of shareholders of Total, which approved the 2004 accounts marked by a record net profit of 9,61 billion euros and during which Thierry Desmarest, head of the group, reaffirmed his commitment to social dialogue.

Source: SDA-ATS www.Swissinfo.org

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