Europe

France tapping fuel stocks as strikes cause gas shortages

  • Riot police secure tanker trucks arriving to refuel at a refinery in Fos sur Mer, southern France,Tuesday, May 24, 2016. French police have dislodged protesters blocking a key fuel depot on the Mediterranean, as gasoline shortages spread around the country amid increasingly tense labor actions. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

    Riot police secure tanker trucks arriving to refuel at a refinery in Fos sur Mer, southern France,Tuesday, May 24, 2016. French police have dislodged protesters blocking a key fuel depot on the Mediterranean, as gasoline shortages spread around the country amid increasingly tense labor actions. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tanker trucks line up to refuel at the Fos sur Mer refinery after riot police removed barricades set up by striking workers, southern France,Tuesday, May 24, 2016. French police have dislodged protesters blocking a key fuel depot on the Mediterranean, as gasoline shortages spread around the country amid increasingly tense labor actions. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

    Tanker trucks line up to refuel at the Fos sur Mer refinery after riot police removed barricades set up by striking workers, southern France,Tuesday, May 24, 2016. French police have dislodged protesters blocking a key fuel depot on the Mediterranean, as gasoline shortages spread around the country amid increasingly tense labor actions. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Drivers queue to buy gas in a station, in Paris, Tuesday, May 24, 2016.  A two-month protest movement against a bill weakening France's famed worker protections reached a new level this week as fuel industry workers joined in. Strikes have spread to all eight of France's refineries, and one in five gas stations are now dry or running low. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

    Drivers queue to buy gas in a station, in Paris, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. A two-month protest movement against a bill weakening France's famed worker protections reached a new level this week as fuel industry workers joined in. Strikes have spread to all eight of France's refineries, and one in five gas stations are now dry or running low. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)  (The Associated Press)

France has begun using its fuel reserves to deal with gasoline shortages caused by strikes and protests over a divisive labor reform.

The head of the group overseeing France's petroleum industry, Francis Duseux, said Wednesday on RMC radio that the government has approved the use of fuel stocks for the past two days.

Duseux said there are about three months of reserves. He acknowledged "the situation is tense" but attributed it to panic buying.

Riot police forced striking workers out of a fuel depot early Wednesday in Douchy-les-Mines in northern France that had been blocked for several days, Sud union member Willy Dans said on BFM television.

Unions have blocked depots and refineries around France to try to force the government to abandon a bill that weakens worker protections.