Burning tires, streets blocked by lorries, empty filling stations. The strikes in France, protesting against the planned job market reforms, have been going on for two weeks. And this has consequences: A partial work stop means that filling stations are not receiving deliveries, and the government has had to access strategic fuel reserves. The strikes are costing the French economy millions of Euros. And also the logistics industry can feel the consequences. After all, a standing lorry costs transport companies more than any empty run might do.
France is living above its means, and the country is currently experiencing high unemployment rates. A new reform is intended to relax existing job market regulations. These regulations will make it easier to let people go for economic reasons, and to include company agreements in payment negotiations. In addition, overtime premiums are being reduced from 25% to 10%. This particularly affects professional groups such as long-distance drivers, who regularly clock overtime hours. Over the last week, long distance drivers in the thousands blocked roads using their lorries.
Strikes are expensive
In times like these, it becomes very obvious how essential daily transportation is for the economy and daily life. A real-time recording from last week shows over 4,000 filling stations affected by fuel shortages within France. According to media reports, at least four of the eight French refineries were affected by the blockades. According to the Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (German Transport Magazine, or DVZ), British lorry drivers attempting to cross the English Channel also experienced difficulties due to lack of fuel and blockades in Calais. Economic chaos, explains Marcel Frings, Chief Representative of TimoCom, Europe’s largest transport platform. “Lorries at a stand still are even worse than unnecessary empty runs. Depending on the type of vehicle, costs can be between 5,000 to 10,000 EUR a month – whether or not the vehicle is in use. These costs include taxes, insurance, the driver’s basic salary, maintenance and so on.” Reuters is now reporting that the shortages will be covered temporarily by petrol imports via pipelines, tank vessels, and road tankers. Marcel Frings from TimoCom agrees that the situation in France has relaxed a little for the moment. “Customers who have carried out transport jobs in and around France within the last few days report that although they were worried about long lines at filling stations, there really was not a problem.”
However, the French union CGT has announced that there will be additional mass demonstrations and strikes for railway and airport workers to coincide with the beginning of the European Championship on the 10th of June.
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