Europe News

All of France's refineries shut down due to strikes: Reports

Jessica Hartogs, Special to
All oil refineries in France now shut down
All oil refineries in France now shut down

France's oil refineries are on strike Tuesday, union officials said, with all eight of the country's refineries out of action.

A CGT (General Confederation of Labor) union official confirmed the closures to various media. The union had not responded to CNBC's request for comment at the time of publication.

Five of the refineries are controlled by Total and two by Esso.

The Total CEO was reported as saying that the oil and gas company will "seriously reconsider" investments in France due to the strikes that have forced it to shut down its refineries, according to Reuters which cited iTele television. Patrick Pouyanne was speaking on Tuesday at the sidelines of Total's shareholders meeting in Paris, the agency said.

The strikes will put France's "full 1.4 mbd (million barrels per day) of capacity potentially at risk," said Jeffries' equity analyst Jason Gammel to CNBC.

"Price reaction has been muted thus far and will be dependent on how long the actions last," he added.

The strike has resulted in over 2,000 gas stations running dry across France, with drivers lining up for hours to fill their cars.

Union workers are protesting against labor reform laws passed this month by President Francois Hollande's government aimed at reforming the country's notoriously inflexible workers' rights – including making changes to the 35-hour work week and making it easier for small businesses to hire and fire employees.

France faces shortages at gas stations as labor reform protests bite

Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, currently on a visit to Jerusalem, told Europe 1 radio on the strike that, "that's enough" and promised an "extremely firm" response to the CGT.

The CGT is one of France's largest workers' unions with over 700,000 members.

Since putting forth the suggested changes, the French government has already watered down its proposals significantly due to the often violent protests – but protesters are still unhappy with the proposed changes.

Valls told Europe 1 that the French government would not back down on the new labor reform laws. In response, the CGT announced an "unlimited strike" starting on June 2, should the new labor laws not be revoked, reported French media.

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