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the government faced with the risk of contagion from the social movement

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Hope the wick goes out before it reaches the powder keg. More than two weeks after the start of the first strikes in French refineries, the government is facing a new risk: the possible spread of the movement to other sectors. Railway workers, civil servants, national education, nuclear power plants… Since the first requisition of four striking employees at the ExxonMobil refinery depot in Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon (Seine-Maritime), Wednesday, October 12, a few smoke signals have appeared in a France facing a fuel shortage. “This strike must spread”, launched the next day Emmanuel Lépine, the secretary general of the FNIC-CGT (National Federation of Chemical Industries). A call for the extension of the conflict closely watched by the executive.

Read also: Fuel shortage, live: the strike is renewed at five TotalEnergies sites

Because for the moment, appeasement does not seem in sight. The movement in the refineries turns into calls for general mobilization. Thursday evening, October 13, four employee unions – the CGT, Force Ouvrière, the FSU, Solidaires – and four movements representing youth – the FIDL, the MNL, the UNEF, the Voix lycéenne – called for a strike on Tuesday October 18, during an interprofessional day of action for “raising wages and defending the right to strike”. From transport to civil servants, this great day of national strike will particularly affect the SNCF and the RATP. This initiative was taken following a meeting held in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), at the national headquarters of the CGT.

The central headed by Philippe Martinez, which is repositioning itself at the head of the social movement, has obtained a rallying choice: that of Force Ouvrière. This organization, which had distanced itself for several months from the intersyndicale, decided to join it following the requisitions of strikers in the refineries: “It’s the trigger”, confides Patricia Drevon, Confederal Secretary, reporting that many of her comrades were shocked by the decision of the executive, synonymous, in their eyes, with violation of the right to strike. Thursday morning, on BFM TVMr. Martinez had declared that the power in place “did a bullshit” by wielding the weapon of requisitions. “We must generalize the strikes”he insisted.

The bet of union leaders

The union leaders involved in the protest recognize, as an aside, that they are betting on launching a national day of action in a short time, less than three weeks after the demonstrations of September 29 – also centered on the preservation purchasing power. But they consider that” Something is happening “ in the country, according to the formula of Simon Duteil, co-delegate general of Solidaires. Apart from the fuel sector, other sectors are already under pressure – in particular the energy sector. For the past few weeks, work stoppages, against a backdrop of wage demands, have disrupted the activity of several nuclear power plants: Cattenom (Moselle), Tricastin (Drôme), Cruas (Ardèche), Bugey (Ain)… Conflicts which could, at in the long run, complicate the task of EDF to avoid power cuts during the winter.

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