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French tanker drivers' strike to end by weekend, union

Signs indicate a petrol station is out of gasoline and diesel in Paris on May 31, 2017
Signs indicate a petrol station is out of gasoline and diesel in Paris on May 31, 2017 Reuters/Charles Platiau

The six-day strike that has caused fuel shortages in France should end by the weekend, according to the union that called the stoppage.

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After talks with transport ministry officials Thursday, the CGT union said an agreement with the government would now be put to strikers for approval.

The union called the strike, which has triggered panic-buying at petrol stations,  on Friday 26 May, demanding wage increases and better working conditions for drivers.

"We've made a lot of progress today," the head of the CGT's transport branch, Jérôme Verite, told reporters after the talks.

French oil and gas company Total said that about 24 percent or 83 out of its 340 petrol stations in the Ile-de-France region around Paris had ran out of fuel, compared with 40 stations the previous day.

Four percent of France's 2,200 petrol stations were out of fuel and a picket line was hampering supply from three fuel depots which were operating at minimum capacity, the company said.

No official figures were available for more than 11,000 petrol stations operated by other businesses.

France Info radio reported that 523 petrol stations in France were completely dry, while another 400 were partially out of fuel.

Prior to the meeting, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said in a statement there was no widespread shortage beyond supply difficulties in certain areas.

She urged consumers not to panic-buy and to maintain their usual consumption patterns.

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