Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Refinery Workers Go On Strike Across France to Protect Jobs

On Wednesday, January 3, Total refineries throughout France went on strike in response to the call of union confederations and the strikers at the Grandpuits site, in solidarity with their struggle and in defense of jobs across the country.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

February 3, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share

“Normandy, Flanders, La Mède, Feyzin, Donges are on strike since this morning. No product leaves all these sites for 48 hours!” That was the good news announced this morning on social media by Thierry Defresne, the CGT trade union confederation central delegate at the French oil and gas multinational Total. The refineries have largely heeded the call for a mobilization in solidarity with the strikers in Grandpuits and in defense of employment throughout the group.

On Twitter, Adrien Cornet — the CGT Grandpuits delegate and a leader of the ongoing struggle — reported significant numbers of strikers: 50 percent in refining and 40 percent in petrochemicals at Normandy; 100 percent at Flanders; 40 percent at La Mède 40; 100 percent in refining at Feyzin, along with 60 percent in petrochemicals and 70 percent in shipping. He added, “At Grandpuits, we have voted to extend the strike until February 11. The unity and determination of the strikers is stronger than ever!”

This successful mobilization follows a call by the National Federation of Chemical Industries (FNIC, a trade union representing French chemical workers) and CGT Grandpuits for a 48-hour strike in solidarity with the struggle of the Grandpuits refinery workers, who have been on strike since January 4. In recent days, as Adrien Cornet reported during yesterday’s general assembly at Grandpuits, a team of strikers had traveled to various Total sites to carry the call and encourage their colleagues to join the movement.

“We have to show Total that we are united in solidarity, whatever happens. It’s not just the Grandpuits strikers they’re up against; all the guys in coveralls are getting angry. That’s what scares them!” Cornet told refinery workers in Normandy before heading to Feyzin.

As Reuters reports, “Total had indicated that following the strike call, product shipments could be disrupted at some of its refineries, but added that it would continue to ensure supplies to its service station network and its customers.”

However it works out, this first day of the solidarity strike is a fitting symbol and demonstration of how the Grandpuits refinery workers — through their exemplary struggle — have affected all the workers. But to make Total bend, and to oppose the attacks of the bosses more broadly, it will be necessary to go further than a 48-hour strike across one sector. What we need is a real battle plan for the entire working world — a perspective that must be defended on the streets on February 4, when a national day of mobilization has been called by a number of union confederations and organizations.

First published on February 3 in French in Révolution Permanente.

Translation by Scott Cooper 

Facebook Twitter Share

Tatiana Cozzarelli

Tatiana is a former middle school teacher and current Urban Education PhD student at CUNY.


“Antideutsche”: The Aberration of Germany’s Pro-Zionist Left

As Germany persists in its unwavering support of Israel and the total denial of its genocide, the German Left is conflicted over the issue. While leftists all over the world are showing solidarity with Palestine, a segment of the German Left is historically pro-Zionist. How did this movement, the so-called Antideutsche (Anti-Germans) come to be?

Seb Zürcher

February 21, 2024

Why German Media are Lying About the Palestine Solidarity Movement at the Free University of Berlin

A rally in front of the Free University of Berlin had as many journalists as demonstrators. This is yet another example of the international campaign to defame all protests against Israel's genocidal military campaign.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 16, 2024

Protests in Germany: “The Whole Regime Is Shifting to the Right”

In Germany, over 1.4 million people took to the streets to protest the Far Right this weekend. Left Voice interviewed Inés Heider, a social worker in Germany and activist of Klasse Gegen Klasse, our sister organization in Germany, about the mobilizations in recent days and the current political dynamics in Germany.

Inés In

January 25, 2024

The German Government Is Paving the Way for the Far Right

Tens of thousands of people are demonstrating against the AfD. But the government of Olaf Scholz is already implementing many of the AfD’s policies.

Nathaniel Flakin

January 19, 2024


With Rafah in the Crosshairs, the Working Class Can Stop the Genocide in Gaza

As Israel prepares an invasion of Rafah, workers’ organizations around the world must take action before it's too late.

James Dennis Hoff

February 21, 2024
CUNY workers at a demonstration hold a banner that reads "STRIKE TO SAVE CUNY."

CUNY Workers Launch New Strike Campaign

As Governor Hochul proposes another $528 million in cuts, workers at the City University of New York are fighting back.

Olivia Wood

February 12, 2024
Aftermath of Israeli bombing of Rafah, Gaza.

Israel Told Palestinians to Evacuate to Rafah — then Bombed Them

After instructing civilians to evacuate south, Israel has bombed the southern border city of Rafah. It’s not about eradicating Hamas — it’s ethnic cleansing.

Sou Mi

February 12, 2024
IMT leader Alan Woods giving a speech.

Are You a Communist? Then Let’s Talk about the IMT

The International Marxist Tendency, led by Alan Woods, is rebranding itself as “the Communists.” Does this represent a shift to the left? Sort of. Yet decades of opportunist positions do not disappear overnight.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 12, 2024