French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday said he had ordered the deployment of security forces to clear the access to the country’s refineries and fuel depots, calling unions’ move to block the country’s refining sites “illegal.”
“The right to strike is perfectly respectable and constitutional, but… it is not legal to block depots,”
Philippe told RTL radio.
The prime minister said he had asked to “mobilize the police to ensure that there are no blockages of depots.”
Philippe added that the refining strike poses no immediate risk of oil product supply shortage, noting that just two out of 200 fuel depots have been closed. “We are making sure that there are no supply difficulties,” he said.
In a show of force to make the government reconsider its pension reform, chemical branch of hardline General Confederation of Labor GCT union planned “full blockade” of seven refineries in France mainland from Jan. 7-10.
The refinery workers’ stoppage is a part of unions’ hardening industrial action against a plan to merge the variety of 42 different pension set-ups for different professions into a universal system.
The new single regime would use points so that each euro paid in would give the same retirement benefits no matter what sector pensioners worked in. That meant to scrap the special transport worker status, which allows workers to retire on full pension at 52, a decade before other French employees.