As French truckers continue their three-day fuel protest, France's largest trucking union today rejected a government proposal to reimburse truckers for fuel costs and threatened to step up its blockade of oil refineries and fuel depots.

The blockade, involving an estimated 2,000 trucks, has caused fuel shortages across France. Some gas stations have dry and airplanes are being forced to cancel or reroute flights.
The National Federation of Truck Drivers said the government's proposal, offered after 12 hours of negotiations, was "insufficient." It would have given drivers a 20-cent reimbursement per gallon of fuel this year and a 14-cent refund per gallon on gasoline taxes next year. But the union wants an additional tax break of 5.6 cents per gallon in 2001. Government officials, however, say their offer is final.
Truckers say the cost of diesel fuel has risen 40 percent in the past year. With the help of farmers, ambulance drivers and taxi drivers, they have blocked more than 85 oil refineries and fuel depots around the country.