French Protesters Affect Country’s Petrol Supply
Motorists around France are worrying whether or not they will be able to fill up their gas tanks as hundreds of petrol stations in the country have started to run dry. While the French transport minister is trying to head off rumors about petrol shortages, those motorists who are queuing up outside petrol stations across the country would beg to differ.
This potential petrol shortage is the result of protesters against the new French labor reform bill, which was forced through parliament last week, much to the chagrin of dozens of Socialist MPs, who most certainly would have raised their concerns to Prime Minister Manuel Valls if given the chance. The protesters have blockaded five oil refineries, causing petrol stations in the north and west of the country, particularly in the city of Rennes, to run dry.
France has a total of eight oil refineries, meaning that the country is only being supplied by three currently. Of a total 12,000 petrol stations around the country, 1,600 are now out of action. At the five refineries that are blocked, police have been trying to move protesters in an attempt to reopen them and get the country’s petrol supply moving again.
The French government is assuring the public that it will do whatever it can to avoid shortages, and Finance Minster Michel Sapin described the blockades as “illegal.” But the fact remains that drivers in the north and west of France are without petrol, begging the question as to whether the country is already experiencing a shortage.
The controversial bill gives companies more freedom to reduce workers’ pay and makes it easier for workers to be fired, among other things. The government thinks this will encourage companies to hire more people if they know that they can let them go if business isn’t great, but opponents beg to differ. The bill also makes it easier for employers to negotiate things like vacation days and maternity leave, which was previously heavily regulated by the government.
News Source: BBC News