Europe

French transport minister: fuel situation getting better

Riot police officers take position amid tear gas smoke during a demonstration held as part of nationwide labor actions in Paris, Thursday, May 26, 2016. French protesters scuffled with police, dock workers set off smoke bombs and union activists disrupted fuel supplies and nuclear plants Thursday in the biggest challenge yet to President Francois Hollande's government as it tries to give employers more flexibility. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Riot police officers take position amid tear gas smoke during a demonstration held as part of nationwide labor actions in Paris, Thursday, May 26, 2016. French protesters scuffled with police, dock workers set off smoke bombs and union activists disrupted fuel supplies and nuclear plants Thursday in the biggest challenge yet to President Francois Hollande's government as it tries to give employers more flexibility. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)  (The Associated Press)

France's junior transport minister, Alain Vidalies, says that fuel shortages sparked by nationwide strikes and blockades are easing across France, although he warned that the crisis wasn't over.

Panic at the pump has been among the most serious effects of weeks of French labor action, which has shuttered refineries, blocked fuel depots and disrupted travel across the country.

French unions, notably the militant CGT, are fighting the government's attempt to reform the French labor market, saying the new measures will weaken the country's social protections.

They have picketed refineries and depots and even bridges in an effort to force the government to back down.

On Saturday Vidalies told journalists that "the situation is getting better" but warned that the crisis wasn't over. Industrial action is planned into next week.