Total Refinery in Dunkerque occupied

Striking workers occupied Total's refinery in Dunkerque after management refused to meet an ultimatum over negotiations.

Submitted by jef costello on February 16, 2010

At least 150 workers stormed the buildings this morning, forcing their way past security guards and at one point using ladders to gain entry to the offices on the higher levels of the buildings. Workers took the action after union demands for a mediator in negotiations and for the removal of security guards from the site were ignored.

Workers at the site have been on strike since January 12th. The site has been closed since September due to "a structural and durable fall in the consumption of petroleum products". Fearing that Total would try to close the site altogether workers launched the strike and later the occupation.

The refinery employs 370 workers directly and a further 450 through sub-contractors. The inter-union group at Total comprising CGT, CFDT, Sud and FO has called for a national strike on Wednesday and Thursday in support of the strikers in Dunkerque

Davis Calbet, a CGT member and spokesman for the occupiers said that they would no longer negotiate with the director nor the local human resources department who had repeatedly refused to meet them. He stated "We will stay in these buildings until we have received what we are asking for. We don't want more blah-blah-blah... We won't budge until we have a response." He also stressed "We aren't crooks, it's out of the question that we'd damage our equipment. We have been peaceful since the beginning of this action. We aren't calling for violence."