- Title: FRANCE: Refinery workers vow to maintain picket
- Date: 23rd October 2010
- Summary: GRANDPUITS, FRANCE (OCTOBER 22, 2010) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SCENES) STRIKING REFINERY WORKERS STANDING AROUND FIRE VARIOUS OF STRIKERS HOLDING UP OFFICIAL NOTE THAT REFINERY IS BEING REQUISITIONED VARIOUS OF STRIKERS TEARING UP PIECES OF WHITE CLOTH AND TYING THEM AROUND THEIR ARMS VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF FRANCE'S CGT UNION OUTSIDE REFINERY WITH POLICE OFFICERS IN FRONT OF THEM (SOUNDBITE) (French) SENIOR OFFICIAL OF THE CGT UNION, CHARLES FOULARD, SAYING: "Today, they're launching raids on our social benefits, raids on our pensions, raids on the exercise of our right to strike. When are they going to be rounding up union representatives, when are they going to be locking up union officials? It's a grave moment for our democracy. Never, never have striking workers been requisitioned. It's unacceptable, comrades. Unacceptable." STRIKING WORKERS STANDING TOGETHER (SOUNDBITE) (French) SENIOR OFFICIAL OF THE CGT UNION, CHARLES FOULARD, SAYING: "We call upon on salaried workers, in all countries to strike, not just in protest at the pension reforms but also to defend their liberties, comrades!" STRIKERS CHEERING STRIKERS GATHERED TOGETHER MEN ON STAGE TALKING TO STRIKERS STRIKERS LISTENING VARIOUS OF STRIKERS STANDING TOGETHER IN A HUMAN CHAIN ACROSS ENTRANCE TO REFINERY
- Embargoed: 7th November 2010 12:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Domestic Politics,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVA73M7TAZHXPDFAVCIA6EP5JJUY
- Story Text: Striking energy workers plan to continue their blockade of a refinery near Paris where staff have been legally ordered back to work by the government.
Strikers at a refinery near Paris on Friday (October 22) insisted they would continue their blockage of the plant despite government measures legally forcing people to work.
Staff at the refinery at Grandpuits have been requisitioned by the French government - meaning they would face criminal charges carrying potential heavy jail terms if they do not comply with the order. Few are expected to oppose it.
But the strikers manning picket lines outside the refinery insist they will prevent the requisitioned workers from entering.
Police - who had earlier helped enforce the requisition - stood by as strikers set light to piles of tyres.
Unions denounced the move as a further abuse of rights by what they say is an authoritarian government. Ministers say they need to unblock the installations to relieve the fuel shortages that have afflicted thousands of petrol stations around the country.
"When are they going to be rounding up union representatives, when are they going to be locking up union officials?," asked Charles Foulard, a senior member of the CGT trade union.
"It's a grave moment for our democracy. Never, never have striking workers been requisitioned. It's unacceptable," he told the strikers outside the refinery gates.
The pension protests are the gravest test of President Nicolas Sarkozy since he took office in 2007. He says the pension system must be reformed and that people must work longer if one of Europe's most generous pension systems is to remain fully funded.
But unions and the Socialist opposition say the reforms are unjust, hit the poor disproportionately and that more money should be generated from taxing the rich.
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