France Orders Striking Oil Workers Back to Work

    Photo: EPA [via BBC]

    The Facts

    • On Wednesday, the French government ordered some striking staff at an Exxon Mobil oil depot to return to work, as tensions continue to escalate between trade unions and authorities seeking to ease pressures on petrol supplies.

    • This is the latest development in a weeks-long, nationwide strike for better salaries and a share of the oil firm's profits. The CGT trade union is pursuing a wage increase of around 10% for staff at domestic company TotalEnergies and the US-based ExxonMobil amid France's worsening cost of living crisis.


    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Refinery strikes have choked fuel supplies nationwide and put the safety of the French public at risk as temperatures drop and Europe begins feeling the bite of its sanctions on Russian oil. The French government uses emergency powers sparingly, but in this case, unions forced Macron's hand and left the administration with no option but to force staff back to work for the sake of the country.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Unions are right to call for a 10% raise in wages - oil companies have been reaping exorbitant profits from this energy crisis while workers struggle with a skyrocketing cost of living and rampant inflation. By invoking emergency powers, the government is undermining the fundamental democratic right to cease work.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that at least 66.5% of France's electricity consumption will be supplied by nuclear power in 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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