How French Strikes Are Impacting the Maritime Industry

December 23: The weeks-long strikes over French President Emmanuel Macron’s new pension reform plan are continuing to impact the maritime industry.

  • Workers at refineries in Grandpuits (Seine-et-Marne), La Mède (Bouches-du-Rhône), and Feyzin (Rhône) are scheduled to vote on whether to strike, while the Lavéra refinery near Martigues is scheduled to strike. (FranceInfo) Regardless of the vote, the refinery is already running at a low rate largely due to strikers’ blockades. (Maritime Executive)
  • If refineries decide to strike, it is ” half of the fuel production capacity in France that stops […] the other half is insured port deposits.” Moreover, “deposits are also on strike. The tugs at Fos-sur-Mer no longer connect boats to the oil port. In Le Havre it is the same thing, the ports are on strike.” (FranceInfo)
  • Specifically, at least 80 tugs at Le Havre have joined the strike, preventing larger vessels from entering. (Actu)
  • Container shipping company MSC said on Friday it was implementing contingency plans to re-route container ships away from French ports when necessary due to strikes in the country. (New York Times)
  • Protesters have previously blocked the ports of Marseille and Lyon, dockworkers in Rouen and Marseille joined in protests.
  • Work stoppages last week by tug-boat personnel and dock workers have hampered activity at major shipping hubs like Le Havre and Marseille. (New York Times)

Despite the CFDT’s calls for a hiatus in strike action over Christmas, it is unclear how much this proposal will be followed.

Photograph: MaxPPP / Clement Mahoudeau

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