French unions are calling for a nationwide, interprofessional strike on Tuesday, October 18, to call for salary increases and in protest against the government’s decision to oblige some striking refinery employees to return to work.
TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil refinery staff have been on strike since September 27. Some progress has now been made towards a resolution but the movement continues in five refineries today (October 14).
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The CGT union has said that a railway strike planned for October 18 will “become an interprofessional, national movement for salaries and against the réquisition”, the order sent by the government requiring the Esso-ExxonMobil refinery in Port-Jérôme (Seine-Maritime) to provide a minimum service level.
This meant that four workers have been required to return.
It was also announced yesterday that the government would initiate a further réquisition (order to force enough workers to return to work so as to ensure a minimum service) in a TotalEnergies depot near Dunkirk.
“Striking is a constitutional right,” the union said, adding that “for the bosses anything is possible [...] and for the employees, it is a question of ‘accept it and shut up’.”
The Sud-Rail union has joined calls for railway workers to strike on Tuesday, demanding pay rises and more rapid career progression. It also denounced “the authoritarian government” over its réquisitions.
#Raffineries La Fédération SUD-Rail dénonce l'autoritarisme et les menaces de la Première Ministre envers nos collègues des raffineries et se prépare à riposter rapidement !! pic.twitter.com/RPBt6yIvkX— SUD-Rail Fédération (@Fede_SUD_Rail) October 12, 2022
Which other sectors are expected to join the strike?
The CGT branch dedicated to HGV drivers has also called for action on October 18, along with the branch representing workers at EDF’s nuclear plants.
Employees at the Gravelines nuclear power station in Nord already began striking yesterday (October 13), calling for a 5% pay increase.
Postal and telecommunications workers are also expected to join the movement over demands for pay rises, better working conditions and a retirement age of 60.
Several unions representing education professionals and other public sector workers have stated that they will also participate in Tuesday’s strike in solidarity with refinery workers.
Will private sector workers take part?
Tuesday’s strike is expected to primarily involve public sector workers, but if the Commerce branch of the CGT takes part, it may also include some people employed in the retail and other related sectors.
It is not yet known how the strike will affect public services such as transport as the scale of the action has not yet been confirmed. Details of services however must be released at least 24 hours in advance of any action.
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