French port worker strike moves into 9th day

A strike by the CGT trade union since Mar. 14 has idled oil tankers and LPG and chemical carriers at the shipping ports of Lavéra and Fos on the French Riviera.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Mar. 22 -- A strike by the CGT trade union since Mar. 14 has idled oil tankers and LPG and chemical carriers at the shipping ports of Lavéra and Fos on the French Riviera. The 8-day strike has cost the industry some $250 000, reported industry trade group Union Française des Industries Pétrolières (UFIP).

The refineries of Total, Ineos, Esso, and Shell have otherwise suffered no adverse effects, but they could if the strike continues, UFIP said.

CGT insists that Gaz de France employ Port of Marseille stevedores to load and unload LNG carriers arriving at the LNG terminal at Fos-Cavaou at yearend when it comes on stream.

Gaz de France, for security and legal reasons, refuses to employ any but its own trained personnel to handle the LNG carriers. All European LNG terminals are subject to the same strict rules.

Two-pronged negotiations began Mar. 20 between CGT and managers of Gaz de France and Port Authorities to explain why Gaz de France could not accede to CGT's demand. At the same time, Port Authorities drew up an employment draft protocol to be submitted by CGT to its members. The document strives to allay dockers' fears that public employment gradually is being transferred to private operators.

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