French strikes fuel concerns of gas shortage | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 15.10.2010
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French strikes fuel concerns of gas shortage

As nationwide strikes in France against pension reform plans continue, concerns are growing about a fuel shortage due to strikes at refineries. The oil companies have called on the government to tap fuel reserves.

Trucks in front of a refinery

Tanker truck drivers had to wait at French oil refineries

On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered riot police to reopen fuel depots blocked by workers protesting against pension reform.

The pipeline to Paris airports had been cut and all of France's oil refineries shut down by the continuing strikes, leading to concerns from oil companies about a fuel shortage.

France's petrol industry association has called for the government to release emergency fuel stocks to meet demand.

The oil refinery closures have led to some panic buying, and the demand for fuel has increased since the strikes started Tuesday.

What shortage?

Demonstrators in France

"Retirement" reform plans have met resistance in France

Dominique Bussereau, France's transport secretary, agreed to allow refineries to tap their reserves, but insists there is no reason to panic about a shortage.

"We have what it takes for at least a month without any problems," he told French television station LTI, advising drivers not to stock up on fuel because they won't need it.

French workers are striking against proposed plans from Sarkozy's government to raise the minimum age of retirement from 60 to 62.

Unions are hoping to organize another nationwide strike next week, which would be the fifth in the past month.

Author: Matt Zuvela/Sarah Harman (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner

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