Blockade protests enter a second day

There is no need to panic-buy petrol, officials in France say

Some panic-buying of fuel reported in northern and north-western France on Monday

More blockades have been set up at fuel depots and oil terminals across France as truckers' protests against France's labour reforms enter a second day.

Early on Tuesday, blockades had been set up outside depots and at key points in Rouen, Caen, La Crèche and La Mède - prompting a second wave of panic-buying.

On Monday, the risk of a fuel shortage prompted some panic-buying among motorists. On Monday afternoon it was reported that more than 60 petrol stations, mostly in northern and north-western France had run out of fuel. Another 104 were said to be running low. By Tuesday morning, 149 stations were said to be empty, and another 235 running low.

The latest available figures show that that, as of 2015, there were about 11,000 petrol stations in France. Officials have insisted that there is no fuel shortage, and said that supplies are running as normal.

The CGT and FO unions called the protests after President Emmanuel Macron signed into law key amendments to France's employment laws, making it easy for employers to hire and fire staff, and allowing negotiations over pay and conditions to take place at a company level.

At their peak on Monday morning, organisers said 40 blockades and go-slow protests were in place, but by mid-day only 10 remained - including at the oil terminal at La Rochelle and the Rubis depot at Grand-Quevilly, near Rouen.

In a bid to avoid further blockages, transport minister Elisabeth Borne has offered to meet union representatives later this week. "Blockades are not the way," she said. "The right way is dialogue."

Union leaders gave her comments a cautious welcome. "We are always ready to talk," FO secretary general Patrick Clos told reporters. "It depends on the content [of the talks]."

He added that lorry drivers would continue their protests.

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