The Brest oil depot was still blocked Thursday, March 17, in the morning by public works artisans disappointed with the aid announced by the government in the face of soaring fuel prices. “We remain determined, we have been completely forgotten, we, the small craftsmen. The fishermen got something, that’s very good, but for our profession, it’s zero. We are neglected, but we want to show that we are there so that the little ones are not forgotten.explained to AFP François Calvez, president of the union of craftsmen of public works and landscape (Cnatp) 29.
According to Mr. Calvez, the blockade mobilizes 150 demonstrators as well as “200 parked machines and earth embankments”. “It’s strong Alamo here”, he commented. The Finistère prefecture, contacted by telephone Thursday morning, had no information to communicate immediately.
The oil depots of several cities in the west of France had been blocked since Tuesday morning by farmers, craftsmen and even fishermen to denounce the rise in fuel prices. Small businesses of public works artisans are affected by a shortage of materials, as well as price instability. In response, the government asked to all public actors to include price review clauses and not to apply any late payment penalties”, as part of the “economic and social resilience plan” presented by Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday. An insufficient response, believe the demonstrators.
A fuel tax reduction
After the release of the depots in Rennes and Lorient on Wednesday, the blockage was also lifted Thursday morning in La Rochelle where the demonstrators were dislodged, without confrontation, by twice as many police forces, noted a photographer from the AFP.
The sixty fishermen, who had been blocking the commercial port fuel depot since Wednesday morning, returned to their cars around 8:30 a.m., while the CRS dismantled the last barrage of tires and pallets put in place the day before.
Their sector of activity will benefit, from this Thursday, from aid “equivalent to 35 cents per liter of fishing diesel” until July 31. Farmers will also benefit from an advance refund of the fuel tax (TICPE) on their purchases of off-road diesel (GNR), which powers their tractors. A measure that craftsmen also demand. “We are asking for a drop in the TICPE until everything calms down”underlined Mr. Calvez.
In Lorient, however, the demonstrators seemed to want to resume their blockage according to Norbert Guillou, a business manager and in Brest a meeting in the sub-prefecture with Matignon, Wednesday evening, did nothing, according to François Calvez. “It was catastrophic. The door was closed in our face. [Au gouvernement], they say they don’t want to work under pressure, I explained that I didn’t get anything”underlined the union representative.
“We are the great forgotten of what was said yesterday by the Prime Minister”added Bruno Corre, deputy director of an earthmoving company which employs 26 people. “With what has been announced, it is death for us. If nothing moves, it’s the death of the little ones. We’re not moving from here. Either we fight or we die. All the guys are super motivated, we will stay no matter what.”added Mr. Corre.