Strikes attempt to slow French trade to a halt

Several of France’s key trading ports have been affected by the second in a series of 24 hour strikes held by France’s CGT over 2008 port reforms.
The French Confederation of Labour (CGT) held their second strike of the month this Wednesday.  
Fos-Lavera, southern Europe’s largest Petrochemical site, was one of the focal points of the strike. 
According to Reuters, over the course Wednesday’s strike nine vessels were prevented from unloading/loading at the docks, including one cargo ship, one ore tanker, four refined products tankers, and three container ships. Another five refined products tankers were held up outside the port. 
Similar action occurred on the Atlantic coast at the ports of La Pallice, Montoir, Nantes Saint-Nazaire and Fos-sur-Mer in the south, halting grain trade. 
However, the strikes failed to have a lasting effect in the northern port of Rouen, which acts as France’s main grain trading hub. 
Traffic was delayed, but made little impact on commercial activity, with only three out of 25 vessels failing to unload/load. 

At France‘s container port, Le Havre, dock operations were slowed, but Port Authorities put this down to adverse weather conditions.

The Strikes had a considerably diminished effect on trade than those held 6 days previously (Feb 6). 
Tony Hautbois, who heads the CGT’s port section, said that Thursday’s actions had blocked around “85 to 90 percent of activity in France.” 
The strikes come after 2008 reforms that transferred some workers from the public to the private sector. 
Hautbois, speaking of the reforms said: “We were promised better days, more traffic and new jobs.
“In reality, our jobs and our working conditions are being called into question.”
The effects of Wednesday may have been reduced by operator’s fore-knowledge of the coming strike. A port spokeswoman whilst speaking to Reuters noted that “many ships managed to finish their operations before the strike started’.”  

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