Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake,' US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with sale of warship to Russia

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

France

France faces further protests as strike enters fifth day

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-16

French unions are hoping to bring millions onto the streets Saturday in protest at government plans to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. Strikes have squeezed fuel supplies, grounded flights and cut rail services across the country.

AFP - French workers poured onto the streets Saturday to defend their right to retire at 60, as rolling strikes shut down oil refineries and threatened to leave Paris airports without fuel.
   
High school students bolstered nationwide protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to increase the minimum retirement age to 62, and Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told people not to panic as petrol pumps ran dry.
   

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux has told police to "limit the use of force to what is strictly necessary" when dealing with any student unrest at Saturday's protests, the fifth in less than six weeks.
   
Unions want to pummel the government into backing down on pension reform plans, staging strikes on weekdays and mass demonstrations in cities at the weekend.
   
The interior ministry said that at least 340,000 demonstrators had taken to the streets by midday Saturday, fewer than what police said were 380,000 people at the last weekend protest on October 2.
   
The head of the FO union, Jean-Claude Mailly, said that turnout was the same as on October 2, more in some parts of the country, with hundreds of thousands taking part in Paris.

A nationwide day of strikes and demonstrations last Tuesday brought more than a million people on to the streets, and workers in some sectors have kept up their stoppages since then. Another mass strike is planned for next Tuesday.
   
"We're prepared to demonstrate under the snow if it takes that long," Airbus worker Stephane Thibault, 37, told AFP at a demonstration in the southern city of Toulouse.
   
"We're mobilised, everyone seems motivated. With right-wing governments, we know you have to resist," he said.
   
Strikes have shut down 10 out of France's 12 oil refineries, despite riot police being dispatched to keep the fuel flowing amid panic buying.
   
The government has given oil companies permission to tap into their own emergency stocks, but has resisted calls to open the part of the French strategic fuel reserve controlled by a government committee.
   
Lack of fuel forced the shutdown of a pipeline to Paris's two main airports.
   
The main Paris hub, Roissy Charles de Gaulle, has enough aviation fuel to last until Monday evening or Tuesday, the transport ministry said, with planes reportedly being told to arrive with enough fuel for the return journey.
   
"We have ways of finding a solution to supply the airport. We're confident," the spokesman told AFP, asking not to be named. "The pipeline supplying fuel to Orly and Roissy airports is working intermittently."
   
"There is no shortage," Finance Minister Lagarde told RTL television. "We have several weeks of fuel stocks," she said, with 230 service stations out of 3,000 dry of fuel.
   
Cars began queueing at petrol stations outside Paris from before dawn, an AFP correspondent reported, with diesel in particularly short supply.
   
"We don't have any left and we don't know when the next delivery will come," said a petrol station worker at a hypermarket at Clichy-sous-Bois who gave his name as Jean-Claude. "Petrol reserves are also extremely low."
   
Strikes against pension and port reforms at oil depots in the south of the country since September 27 have left 63 oil, gas and chemical tankers waiting off the Mediterranean coast on Saturday, Marseille port authorities said.
   
French truck drivers are also to join protests. "There's impatience, the guys are saying 'let's go'," said transport union chief Maxime Dumont
   
Railway operator SNCF said that on average two out of three high-speed TGV trains were running in and out of Paris, although only one TGV in four outside the capital. The Paris metro was running normally.
   
Because of a separate Belgian railway strike all high-speed Thalys trains between Paris and Brussels will be cancelled. Eurostar trains travelling under the Channel will be unaffected.
   
Unions and the Socialist opposition have vowed to defend the right to retire at 60. They accuse Sarkozy of making workers carry the burden for the failure of the financial sector, and have proposed increasing taxes on the rich.
   
The head of the powerful CGT union, Bernard Thibault, has warned that the protests might not end even after the government passes the reform law.
   
But the government has shown no sign of retreating from what is a cornerstone of Sarkozy's reform agenda as he prepares for his likely re-election battle in 2012.

 

Date created : 2010-10-16

  • FRANCE

    Oil industry strikes spark fears of fuel shortage

    Read more

COMMENT(S)