More French Chaos Looms

Sep 5th, 2000, 06:36 AM
  #1  
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More French Chaos Looms

From BBC News Website... ( Cut & Pasted in Verbatim ).

Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 13:23 GMT 14:23

Truckers cause fuel chaos

Many petrol stations have already run dry

Petrol shortages are crippling service stations around France as truck drivers and farmers protesting at the high cost of diesel fuel continue their blockade of oil refineries.
Panic-buying motorists have besieged petrol stations in several cities and rationing has been introduced in some areas as supplies begin to run out.
Negotiations between Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot and the unions have so far failed to bring an end to the dispute.

There are also signs that the protests are set to spread to other European countries, with farmers and truck drivers in Spain and Belgium threatening similar action later this month.



 
Sep 5th, 2000, 06:57 AM
  #2  
Al
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When will politicians learn that petroleum is the commercial staff of life and not a goose that lays a golden tax egg? European nations impose a tax of up to 75% of the retail price of gasoline while in America it is around 25%. It's a shame that truckers, farmers and others must use this form of protest. After all, their disruption will produce not a single gallon of oil. But their protest is all they have left if their political leaders are deaf to their problems.
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 07:12 AM
  #3  
xxxxxxx
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This is one dispute where it is easy to sympathise with both the stranded/inconvienienced tourists and the truckers. I wonder how the truckers in the US would respond if 'Gas' tax was suddenly increased to European levels ?
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 10:59 AM
  #4  
Lori
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This is not good. I leave Saturday, and am driving from De GAulle to Reims, to Beaune, to Dijon. I spoke to my friend in Brussels who said it is all over the news in Europe, this is a major big deal. Hopefully they will come to some terms before I get there.
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 11:07 AM
  #5  
Steve Mueller
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The answer to the above question about how American truckers would respond is simple- they would raise their prices. This is not an option for French truckers because the socialist government sets the prices for certain types of goods and services.
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 01:06 PM
  #6  
Jan
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According to the 6 pm news on the BBC 70% of french filling stations are now without petrol and no sign of an end to the protests in ight.
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 02:57 PM
  #7  
diane
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Just got back from Paris last night - we didn't have any problems, but when we were filling up with diesel in Paris, the pump we were at was out of petrol.
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 03:10 PM
  #8  
Sheila
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Al

In danger of diverting from topic, but what would you do if you were in government to get people out of their cars?
 
Sep 5th, 2000, 04:19 PM
  #9  
Al
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Sheila: I wouldn't, as you put it, "get people out of their cars." I would let people make that decision. If I were a Socialist, I would give everyone a horse. If I were a Capitalist, I would give each a mare and a stallion. If I were a Communist, I would shoot the horse, sell horsemeat to the people, and call it beef. If I were a Scot, I would teach people to take longer steps and rip their pants in the process. Then I would go into the kilt business.
 
Sep 6th, 2000, 02:28 AM
  #10  
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Nice one AL !
 
Sep 6th, 2000, 03:17 AM
  #11  
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Here's an update.... ( Again pasted from BBC Website ).

Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK

Deal could end French fuel row.

France's fuel chaos could be nearing an end as truck drivers prepare to decide whether to call off their blockade of oil refineries and distribution depots.
Union leaders say the French Government has agreed to lower fuel taxes, the key demand of the drivers.

Last week, the government gave in to fishermen's demands to reduce taxes on diesel fuel after they blockaded French ports.

Lorry drivers have been blockading refineries and fuel depots for two days, causing severe fuel shortages and leading the authorities to ration petrol.

According to the unions, the government has said it will reduce the tax on a litre of petrol by 35 centimes ($0.05) this year, and 25 centimes ($0.03) in 2001.

The drivers had been demanding a cut of 50 centimes a litre ($0.07).

Union leaders are due to meet French Transport Minister Jean Claude Gayssot after consulting their members.

Daniel Chevalier, head of the national road-haulier's syndicate Unostra, said he would recommend that his members accept the government's offer.


 
Sep 6th, 2000, 05:56 AM
  #12  
Al
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Thanks for the update, whoever you are. Notice how little play this story has received in the American press. I found coverage in the London Daily Telegraph (online under Electronic Telegraph). It is amazing how little international news is printed here in the States. As an antidote to this parochialism, I find that The Economist makes a great balance to the hayseed newspaper we must gag on each morning out here in Arizona.
 
Sep 6th, 2000, 06:26 AM
  #13  
Lori
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Based on the latest report from cnn.com - the French truckers rejected the latest offer - so the blockade continues. Oh boy, I'm leaving Saturday.
 
Sep 6th, 2000, 02:16 PM
  #14  
jon
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Lori,
I feel your pain, we are leaving Sunday.
Hope we find gas........
 
Sep 6th, 2000, 06:56 PM
  #15  
Ellen
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I am leaving Friday and am in a sheer panic. Does anyone know what impact the strike is having on train services?
 
Sep 7th, 2000, 02:55 AM
  #16  
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And here's the latest fun & games....

Thursday, 7 September, 2000, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK

Fuel protests target Channel Tunnel

Industrial action in France to secure lower fuel prices is set to increase on Thursday as farmers join lorry drivers in putting pressure on the government.
French farmers are due to hold a breakfast meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, after threatening to block the entrance to the Channel Tunnel at Calais, which links France to Britain, from 1000 (0800 GMT).

A spokeswoman for Eurotunnel, the company which operates the tunnel, said the farmers action was expected to affect access to trains for freight traffic only. Passengers, including those travelling in cars, should be able to travel normally.

Earlier, the main union representing lorry drivers, who have been blockading fuel refineries and depots since Monday, turned down a government offer to reduce fuel taxes saying it was not enough.

The action has led to widespread fuel shortages and rationing. In some parts of the country petrol pumps are under police guard to ensure that only emergency services vehicles fill up amid warnings that supplies could run out by the weekend..

The government achieved some success with its offer to cut fuel taxes by between 35 centimes this year and 25 centimes in 2001.

One of the three main freight unions, the TLF, signed a deal with the government on Wednesday, while leaders of the transport company union, FNTV, said they would also accept the offer.

But the country's largest lorry driver's union, the FNTR, rejected the proposal as "insufficient" - they want a further tax reduction of 10 centimes next year.

The head of France's second-largest union, UNOSTRA, left the meeting wothout agreement. Daniel Chevalier said: "Our members are not satisfied with the measures on the table."
Prime Minister Lionel Jospin is now taking a tougher stance, warning the drivers who are continuing with industrial action that they are damaging the French economy.

Many motorists have driven to Germany in search of fuel

Mr Jospin said that there would be no further negotiations and that the government had gone as far as it could


 
Sep 7th, 2000, 05:30 AM
  #17  
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Getting worse.... INCLUDES RAIL INFO FOR PREVIOUS POSTER

French police have prevented farmers from blockading the Channel Tunnel between France and England during a nationwide protest against high fuel prices.
A convoy of about two dozen tractors had been trying to reach the main entrance of the tunnel but were stopped by the police at the village of Coquelles near Calais about three kilometres from the tunnel entrance.

But the convoy of tractors is now heading towards the main Paris to Calais motorway in an attempt to block that instead.

Protests over fuel prices are now into their fourth day, with road hauliers blocking most of the country's oil depots and refineries.

And the dispute looks set to continue to escalate, with farmers and taxi drivers threatening further disruptions.

A spokeswoman for Eurotunnel, the company that operates the Channel Tunnel, said no services had been affected.

However, road traffic trying to reach the tunnel's Calais terminal is being blocked by farmers on the A16 motorway, she said.

** RAIL INFO ***

Farmers have also cut railway connections between Strasbourg and Paris near the north-eastern town of Saverne by placing about 15 tractors across the track and setting alight bales of straw and tyres, France Info radio reported.

The ongoing blockade has led to widespread fuel shortages and rationing. More than three quarters of the country's petrol stations are reported to be dry.



 
Sep 7th, 2000, 05:54 AM
  #18  
Jon
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The French are such #$%[email protected]#!!!!!!!!
 
Sep 7th, 2000, 09:05 AM
  #19  
Patrick
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It is Thursday evening in Barcelona, and fortunately we were able to get here by train today from Montpellier where we have been for the past four days while all the trouble has been brewing. Our train (a Talgo) was stopped in the middle of nowhere for about an hour which may or may not have anything to do with fuel crisis. A couple of days ago, we were to take a TVG back to Montpellier from Perpignan, but the TGVs were all cancelled in that area as they had been blocked coming down from Paris. Today, they seemed to be running in South France, but I understand there is quite a mess closer to Paris with trains as well as other transportation. This morning the trucks blocked the entrance to the Nice airport, and although some planes were flying, people had to carry their luggage from the highway to the airport.
All the petrol stations we saw yesterday in Narbonne and along the train tracks today were closed. Good luck to anyone coming to France right now. We were holding our breath until we got out today.
 
Sep 7th, 2000, 09:44 AM
  #20  
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Further Update.....

*** AIRLINE INFO ***

At two regional airports - Nantes and Rennes - the fuel tanks are dry, while supplies are low at Nice, Lyon and Marseille

Taxi drivers in many towns and cities, including Paris, have begun their own campaign, blocking roads or forming slow convoys to cause traffic chaos.

 

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