16 December 2013, News Wires -Striking Total workers have voted to shut down two oil refineries run by the French oil company due to a row with management over annual pay rises, union representatives told Reuters on Sunday.
Workers at five Total refineries around France launched a strike on Friday after unions led by the CGT rejected a final offer from management for annual pay rises of up to 1.5 percent, causing talks to break down. The CGT wants to reopen wage talks.
Employees at the 119,000-barrels-per-day (BpD) Gonfreville plant in northern France have issued orders to stop production and were negotiating the sequence of the shutdown with management, said CGT leader Thierry Defresne.
The 155,000-bpd La Mede refinery near Marseille was also due to shut down as early as Sunday. “Management has given us a schedule for the shutdown… We are pressing to accelerate the pace,” he said. “Production will be stopped on Monday and it takes at least five days to restart it. “In Marseille, they have already started the shutdown … Restarting the refinery takes less time, perhaps three days.”
Another CGT representative at Total in Paris confirmed that orders to shut down the two refineries had been issued. A spokeswoman for Total declined to comment on the strike action.
Two other refineries – the 99,000-bpd Grandpuits refinery near Paris and the 231-bpd Donges plant near Nantes – have not been producing since last week due to technical issues, though other refining activity is at minimal levels due to the strike.
Workers at the Feyzin refinery in Western France, which has been in ramping up mode, would vote on Monday whether to decide to shut down or stay open, Defresne said. Total capacity at the five plants is 943,000 bpd.