UPDATE 3-French strikers shut fourth Total refinery
* Donges refinery management issued shutdown notice
* Some 700,000 bpd of Total's French output capacity removed
* Strikers submitted new demands to local management (Recasts with Donges shutdown)
By Michel Rose and Muriel Boselli
PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Striking workers at French oil major Total's refineries shut a fourth plant on Thursday, keeping 700,000 barrels per day of capacity shut as the dispute over wages dragged on.
Management at the Donges refinery, near Nantes, yielded to demands by some workers led by the hardline CGT union to issue a shutdown notice for all production units, an official from another union said.
The dispute comes as refining in Europe has been hit by lower demand due to the economic slowdown, while overcapacity in the sector has also hit the margins of refiners such as Total - Europe's largest - forcing a number of plant closures.
Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said earlier this year European refiners will eventually have to shut down more plants.
A document seen by Reuters showed orders by a Total executive to stop all units at Donges including the FCC gasoline producing units.
Total had rejected calls to stop production, saying a vote by the workforce earlier this week had showed a majority in favour of a pay rise deal signed by moderate unions on Monday.
"Not respecting the outcome of a vote democratically held is in itself questionable," a Total spokeswoman told Reuters. "An extended shutdown of refineries would further weaken the industrial sites."
Production at Total's Gonfreville, La Mede and Feyzin refineries was also stopped, as the strike entered its seventh day.
Striking staff at Donges submitted a demand to management earlier on Thursday to shut down units after the CGT held a vote exclusively for manual workers to go back on strike, overturning a decision by the whole workforce to end industrial action.
"Some 75 percent of production workers voted to resume the strike, demand the right to stop production, block deliveries," the union official at Donges said.
This followed a general assembly vote on Wednesday involving all refinery staff, in which some 212 workers had voted against the strike while 185 workers had voted to resume the action.
The hardline CGT union, which is leading the action, has submitted demands to the management at striking refineries.
"We are asking for a bonus of 1,500 euros ($2,100) as well as a minimum pay rise of 100 euros per month for staff at striking refineries," one CGT leader said.
"We are now asking for management to respond very quickly," he said, adding that it would take up around 5 days for units to restart.
Jean-Louis Schilansky, head of France's petroleum sector lobby group UFIP, said earlier this week that while logistics were tight in certain areas in the north of Paris, supply disruptions for motorists were still weeks away.
For a FACTBOX on the production status at Total's striking refineries, please click on ($1 = 0.7266 euros) (Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in London; Editing by David Evans and William Hardy)
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