A strong wind beats the CGT flags posted in front of the Lavera refinery, in Martigues, and a wind of anger blows among the strikers in the industrial zone of western Marseille. Seated behind tables side by side to form a platform in the union’s prefabricated premises, the ten or so CGT delegates from the main industries in the petrochemical sector of the area chained their speeches and displayed unity and determination in the fight against the pension reform whose the text returns to the National Assembly this Thursday.
“We decided this morning in GA [assemblée générale] the continuation of the strike. The activity is stopped until next Monday. It is also to help the entire petrochemical industry to join the fight and show that we have to go, ”explains Benoît Facchetti, CGT delegate from Fluxel, whose 225 employees operate the Fos and Lavera oil terminals. Inevitably, this shutdown is a game-changer in the strategic fuel sector. “Fill up,” advises Olivier Mateu, secretary general of the CGT departmental union of Bouches-du-Rhône and candidate for the succession of Philippe Martinez.
“If he uses 49.3, there will be no more rules”
In the aftermath, Serge Coutouris, CGT federal deputy secretary for ports and docks announces “the shutdown of ports for 72 hours”. A sequence which will be punctuated Thursday by a day dead ports. “Nothing goes in, nothing comes out. And that hurts [à l’économie] “, sums up the number 2 of the ports and docks of the CGT which promises that soon “the largest French ports will announce to enter the fight”.
Then follow one another representatives of different sectors of activity, railway workers, territorial, of Kem One, of the refineries of La Mède and that of Total-Inéos, “the third largest in France”, specifies its delegate. “Currently, production is lower than consumption and the entire fuel production chain is affected. We are heading towards a situation close to last autumn, ”he warns with reference to the relative shortages observed six months ago and which had led the State to restrict fuel purchases in certain departments.
With the background of threats to cross to new levels and the difficulties experienced by the central union to retain its base: “Today, we retain the workers so that they lead actions, let’s say, reasonable. But if the government is stubborn, there would be no limits in the energy sector,” warns Renaud Henry, of the CGT Mines Energies, whose “Robin Hood” actions have had a certain echo.
The return of the text to the National Assembly, after its approval by the Senate on Saturday evening and its possible adoption of the reform this Thursday, necessarily brings the social movement opposing the pension reform into a decisive week, leading the union to raise the tone, after massive, even historic demonstrations. “If the government uses 49.3, there will be no more rules for anyone, let us be clear”, let Olivier Mateu know before warning about the risks “of conflagration in the event of requisitions”. Until then, unions and demonstrators will meet in the streets for an 8th day of mobilization this Wednesday.