Court suspends worker requisitioning at TotalEnergies Normandy refinery

(Reuters) - An administrative tribunal in the northern French city of Rouen on Thursday suspended a government requisition order at TotalEnergies' Normandy refinery that told striking workers to resume work, document showed.

Workers have been waging a rolling strike at French refineries for several weeks in protest against President Emmanuel Macron's plan to raise the pension age from 62 to 64 years.

The Normandy refinery in Gonfreville, the biggest in France by output, had halted production because of the strike and was only able to resume deliveries when the government requisitioned workers, making them return to work.

However, the court ruled that the requisition order from Wednesday-Thursday to ensure adequate supplies of petrol ahead of the Easter weekend did not meet the legal threshold and went against the right to strike.

The energy ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. TotalEnergies declined comment.

It is the first requisition order to be struck down by a court so far during the protests.

Should the government issue a new requisition in coming days, unions would have to file a fresh legal challenge.

"We hope the government will think twice before issuing another order, now that a judge has called this a manifestly illegal attempt to break the strike rather than respond to a clear economic need or to maintain public order," said Eric Sellini, CGT union coordinator for TotalEnergies workers, which challenged the requisition.

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