Tags: EU | France | Refineries | Strike

French Refinery Workers Halt Walkout to End Strike

A nearly weeklong strike by French refinery workers that had threatened the country with a gasoline shortage ended Wednesday after workers at all but one of the oil refining plants voted to halt their walkout.

Workers at five of oil giant Total SA's French refineries that had been striking since last week voted in separate ballots to go back to work. A sixth refinery, near Dunkirk in northern France, will remain shut until a scheduled meeting with management over the refinery's future on March 8.

France's industry minister earlier declared he was "satisfied" with the CGT union's call to end the strike that had shuttered all six of oil giant Total SA's French refineries.

The walkout had been sparked last week by concerns about Total's plan to convert the Dunkirk refinery for other uses, as well as about as the future of refining in general. The oil company pledged Tuesday to neither close nor sell other plants in France for the next five years.

"I'm satisfied with the CGT's announcement yesterday evening," Industry Minister Christian Estrosi said on radio station RTL.

"I believe that all the conditions have now been met" for the strike to end following talks between workers and Total management on Tuesday, Estrosi said.

Total's refineries are losing 100 million euros ($135 million) a month, spokesman Michael Crochet-Vourey said.

Total shares have so far been little affected by the strikes, however.

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A nearly weeklong strike by French refinery workers that had threatened the country with a gasoline shortage ended Wednesday after workers at all but one of the oil refining plants voted to halt their walkout.Workers at five of oil giant Total SA's French refineries that...
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