Workers striking at TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil’s French refineries have rejected a pay offer, extending the strike, according to the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) representatives. 

TotalEnergies reported on September 28 that it had temporarily halted production at its 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) Gonfreville refinery due to industrial action by CGT threatening supplies.

According to government estimates, 19% of French petrol stations have severe supply shortages. The overwhelming majority of TotalEnergies’ petrol stations currently report low fuel stocks. The company has a network of over 3,500 petrol stations in France, nearly one-third of all stations in the country.

The strikes have increased pressure on the government of French President Emmanuel Macron, says Reuters. The strikes add to the public discontentment with inflation and rising household costs, at a time of rising energy insecurity.

Soaring energy prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in huge profits for Total Energies. According to the Guardian, the profits were used to pay out an estimated $7.7bn in dividends and an additional special dividend to investors. As a result, workers at TotalEnergies asked for a 10% increase in wages.

On Sunday, TotalEnergies proposed to move salary discussions forward in response to union demands as it sought to end the strike.

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According to a spokesman for ExxonMobil’s Esso France, the meeting will take place Monday and involve officials from the company’s four unions.

“Provided the blockades will end, and all labour representatives agree, the company proposes to advance the start of mandatory annual wage talks to October,” TotalEnergies said in a statement.