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Total reaches pay deal with two French unions

View of French oil giant Total headquarters in the financial district of la Defense near Paris March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

By Michel Rose and Muriel Boselli

PARIS (Reuters) - Total's (FP.PA) French refining operations have reached a pay rise deal with two unions, isolating the hardline CGT union, the company and a union official told Reuters on Monday.

The CGT, which represents around a quarter of the refining workers at Total's French refineries, remained on strike for a fourth day.

"This is a good compromise in the current economic climate. The deal is applicable for 19,000 workers," said Francois Pelegrina, a coordinator at the CFDT union at Total.

The endorsement of two unions was needed for a deal to go through and workers at one of Total's five French refineries - the 231,000-bpd Donges plant - voted to end their strike after news of the CFDT deal.

Workers at CGT-dominated sites at La Mede and Gonfreville voted to prolong their strike action while those at Total's Feyzin site dominated by the FO union also voted to do so.

The outcome of a vote at the 99,000-bpd Grandpuits refinery was not immediately clear.

Feyzin near Lyon had been in ramp-up mode and workers there had voted to halt production before news of the union deal with management.

The CGT union was hoping to continue to garner support at Gonfreville and La Mede.

"The fact that the CFDT has signed is destabilizing for workers. But even if they sign, now we're near shutdown, we want to continue," a CGT official said, adding a vote would be held around 2000 GMT in the two plants.

"Total's management is refusing to talk to us," another CGT official added.

Workers led by the CGT have been on strike since Friday over annual wage negotiations. Total's management offered basic annual pay rises of up to 1.5 percent on Friday, which the CGT rejected.

A Total spokeswoman said when pay rises based on seniority and performance where taken into account, the pay rise offer was for as much as 3.5 percent.

The CGT union is calling on Total to re-open negotiations on wage increases as soon as possible.

"Employees should profit from Total's stupendous results, which are regularly above 10 billion euros with profitability progressing every year," the CGT said in a news release.

The gasoline-producing unit at the 339,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Gonfreville refinery in Normandy, France's largest, was due to stop at 0900 GMT, the CGT union official said.

Units were gradually shutting down at the 155,000-bpd La Mede plant near Marseille, another CGT official said, adding it would take four to five days before a complete shutdown.

France imported 17-18 million tons of diesel in 2012 making up about half of its consumption.

France's eight refineries have a production capacity of 1.4 million barrels per day but focus on gasoline while French motorists mainly use diesel.

Similar strike action has taken place in previous years without leading to prolonged strikes.

(Editing by Jason Neely)