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Limited refinery oil product shipments disrupted as France's CGT calls strike

London — Product shipments from a limited number of refineries have been disruptedThursday following the call by French CGT labor union for a 24-hour strike inthe petroleum sector.

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The industrial action is aimed at protecting rights of workers andkeeping the collective labor agreement in the oil sector, said the union,adding that the strike was called following what it termed as a lack ofpositive response from the employers.

Product shipments have been disrupted at ExxonMobil's Fos sur Mer in thesouth of France and Total's Grandpuits near Paris, the companies said.

Some workers have joined the protest at ExxonMobil's Fos where noproducts were being loaded. As a result, for safety reasons the plant wasrunning at reduced throughput.

Product shipments were also partially disrupted at Grandpuits.

While earlier in the day the strike had not affected refineries inNormandy near Le Havre, in the afternoon staff at Total's Gonfreville refineryand petrochemical sites voted to join the strike for 24 hours until Fridayafternoon, a union source said. Loadings from the refinery and operations atsome of the petrochemical units have been disrupted, the sources said. Totalwas not immediately available to comment.

Also in Normandy, ExxonMobil's Gravenchon refinery and chemical plantwere operating normally, the company said.

Operations at Petroineos' Lavera have slowed down, according to mediareports. The company declined to comment.

CGT has called on workers at refineries, petrochemical sites, fuelstorages and storages at ports and airports to join the action and haltinstallations. The strike could be revoked if a positive response to demandsis received in the meantime, it said.

--Elza Turner,

--Edited by Jonathan Fox,