most TotalEnergies refineries on strike, production cuts at EDF power plants

Refineries, power plants, SNCF… Strikes continue, Wednesday, February 8, against the pension reform project carried by the government of Elisabeth Borne. On Tuesday, CGT leader Philippe Martinez called for strikes “harder, more massive, more numerous”, “if the government persists in not listening”. “It will take other demonstrations but for us, it’s clear, the rest will be the renewable strike, around March 8”added Simon Duteil, from the Solidaires union.

Most TotalEnergies refineries on strike

TotalEnergies strikers renewed the movement on Wednesday morning against the government’s pension reform project in most of the group’s refineries, we learned from the CGT. The union counted 100% of strikers among the operators of the morning shifts at the Flandres fuel depot (North), near Dunkirk, 80% at the Donges refinery (Loire-Atlantique), 70% at the Feyzin refinery (Rhône ) and 56% at the Normandy refinery. Management estimated for its part that 46% of these operators were on strike this morning, according to an average established for all of its refineries.

“We renew the same modalities for this start of the day”, and therefore the suspension of fuel shipments from refineries to fuel depots, said Eric Sellini, CGT coordinator for the TotalEnergies group. The movement is scheduled to last two days, the national day of mobilization on Tuesday and this Wednesday, which coincides with the publication of the results of the group, which announced the best profit in its history, at 20.5 billion dollars for the year 2022.

The CGT had initially envisaged stopping the refineries and therefore the production of fuels, but the employees were not ready for it and first wanted to ” test “ on a renewable strike, before possibly hardening the movement. A meeting “with all the CGT oil unions”extended in particular to the pharmaceutical branch, is scheduled for Thursday in order to try to amplify the movement to other sectors of activity, Mr. Sellini also indicated.

Production drops in EDF thermal power plants

The EDF strikers maintained during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday load reductions (production) of around 1,000 MW, mainly in thermal power stations, without causing any cuts. The gas-fired power stations of Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône) and Blénod (Meurthe-et-Moselle) were the main affected by these declines, which had affected several nuclear power stations on Tuesday.

They reached 6,160 MW on Tuesday at the height of the movement, according to EDF management, and up to 7,000 MW, “i.e. 10% of French consumption”according to the CGT, which forecast further declines for Wednesday.

During the night, a network security message issued by the manager of the high voltage lines RTE, guarantor of network security, limited the action of the strikers, according to the CGT. RTE can send safety messages to the strikers if it considers that the reductions in production run the risk of cuts for users. It is then up to the employees to respect them. The message “disappeared around 11 p.m., but the change of shift was made and when the strikers made a decision at the start of the shift, they did not go back on it”declared Fabrice Coudour, federal secretary of the CGT-Energie.

At the SNCF, two out of three TGVs and one out of two TERs

Train traffic remains “disturbed” Wednesday. The SNCF planned on average 2 TGV out of 3, with in detail 2 trains out of 3 towards the North, a circulation “almost normal” towards the East, 3 trains out of 5 towards the South-East, 1 train out of 2 towards the Atlantic, 2 Ouigo out of 3 and 3 province-province TGV out of 5. The company also intended to run nearly 1 TER out of 2, with disruptions in all regions. SNCF Voyageurs is counting on 1 Intercités out of 2 and will cancel its night trains.


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On the other hand, traffic is normal for Eurostar, “slightly disturbed” for Thalys, and the other international connections have 4 out of 5 trains on average (except Switzerland, 3 out of 5).

In Ile-de-France, SNCF announces normal traffic on lines A, B and K, as well as on tram-trains T4, T11 and T13. It provides for 3 trains out of 4 on lines P and U, 2 trains out of 3 on lines E, H, J and L, 1 train out of 2 on lines C and N and 2 trains out of 5 on RER D with a cut between Gare de Lyon and Châtelet-les-Halles.

Anxious not to make their action unpopular, the railway workers’ federations did not, however, call for a strike on Saturday, the first day of vacation for zone B and half-time for those in zone A.

Special regimes discussed in the National Assembly

The deputies began Tuesday evening, without completing it, the examination of the end of the special regimes. Given the number of amendments, the debate on this article of the bill was not over at the end of the session and will resume on Wednesday afternoon.

MEPs will continue to look into the gradual end of the main special schemes (RATP, electricity and gas industries, Banque de France, etc.). Only those of the fishermen, the Paris Opera, and the Comédie-Française are spared in the government bill.

For its part, the executive is still trying to wrest a compromise with the right, whose votes are crucial to avoid having recourse to article 49.3 of the Constitution (adoption of a text without a vote). After the concessions granted on small pensions, then long careers, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt mentioned a “progress report” in Parliament before the 2027 presidential election. He said to himself “always optimistic” on the fact of “building a majority”.

“Reform is necessary to preserve the social model”insisted the President of the Senate Gérard Larcher on Wednesday on France Inter, anxious to encourage the still reluctant LR deputies to vote for it.

The World with AFP

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