France loses up to $560 million daily because of strikes

42110.jpegFrance's massive strikes are costing the national economy up to euro400 million ($562 million) each day, the French finance minister said Monday, as workers continued to block ports, oil refineries and trash incineration plants to protest a plan to raise the retirement age to 62.

France's 12 refineries remained shut down Monday after nearly two weeks of protests despite raids last week by riot police that forced some to open access to fuel stocks. At ports in Marseille and Le Havre, dozens of tankers are still anchored offshore, waiting to unload, The Associated Press reports.

Workers at many refineries have voted to continue striking and unions have called two further nationwide days of protest, including this Thursday.

The country is counting the cost. Some estimates put it as high as 400 million euros a day, according to Economy Minister Christine Lagarde. Acknowledging the difficulty of putting a precise figure on the losses, she is warning of longer-term damage to France's image abroad.

Fuel shortages are continuing to bite. Around one petrol station in three remains in difficulty. The government has moved to reassure people the situation will return to normal "within days," euronews reports.


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