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Paris France Petrol Protests

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Petrol situation improving, says French transport minister

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A placard which reads 'closed, dried up' is seen at a petrol station in Savenay, France REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French transport minister Alain Vidalies said though the situation related to shortages at petrol stations in the country was improving, the crisis was not yet over.


The police had cleared most of the blockades at petrol depots on Friday which had resulted in the improvement in the situation. However, the government said around 20 percent of petrol stations were still suffering shortages.

The crisis over petrol shortages was sparked following the blockades and strikes by the unions at oil refineries. The action is a part of a wave of strikes and demonstrations that have hit France recently following the government’s decision to force a controversial labour reform law through parliament without a vote.

Unions say the law favours companies at the expense of workers' rights and want it scrapped.

The government though has remained defiant with President Francois Hollande vowing not to give in to union demands.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls too shared the same sentiment ahead of talks with bosses in the oil and transport industries, the two sectors worst hit by the protests.

“My responsibility as head of government is to ensure that people can buy petrol and that businesses won't be penalised by the blockages,” he said, pledging to defend the law “to the end”.

Meanwhile, more protests are expected next week with strikes expected to hit the rail network, the Paris Metro and civil aviation on Tuesday.

Strikes also continued at nuclear power stations -- which provide three-quarters of the country's electricity – but have so far failed to affect supply, authorities said.