French CGT accuses oil, petrochemical industries

The CGT Marseille regional chemicals trade union is making no bones about its intention of pursuing the rolling strike it has been conducting since mid-April.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, July 2 -- As a further sign that it is the oil and petrochemical industry that could be the target of further rolling strikes at the Marseille ports of Fos, Lavera, and Berre, the CGT Marseille regional chemicals trade union is making no bones about its intention of pursuing the rolling strike it has been conducting since mid-April. It is protesting the law, passed June 24, to privatize loading activities and reorganize all France's ports to make them more competitive

CGT is accusing both the chemicals trade group, Union des Industries Chimiques, and the oil industry's trade group, Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres, of "sharing out the tasks," the former to clamor for privatization of the ports and "to announce an aggressive takeover of the Fos port," and the latter "to forcibly pass a law to massively deregulate France's port activity."

"This fully legitimates the current struggle of the port workers," announced CGT, which disputes the belief that public management of the ports is less efficient than privatization.

And going further it asks: "Rather than privatizing the ports, would it not be preferable to extend public control to the refining and petrochemicals sector, which is truly strategic."

The port workers and government have until Oct. 31 to reach a framework agreement on the conditions under which the loading agents will be inserted in operations at the port terminals. Each port will have to set out its strategic plan for application in 2010.

This leaves much scope for further CGT action being promised by Pascal Galeote, secretary general of the Marseille Port CGT trade union. It might also provide scope for possibly constructive negotiations.

More in Refining & Processing