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French unions to switch protests to electricity supplies
Photo: AFP

French unions to switch protests to electricity supplies

Ben McPartland · 25 May 2016, 10:14

Published: 25 May 2016 10:14 GMT+02:00

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Running out of fuel is one thing but running out of electricity, that would be taking things to a whole new level.

France’s hardline CGT trade union is ready to up the ante in its battle to force the government to scrap the labour reform bill by turning its attention to electricity supplies.

The union is calling on workers at the country’s nuclear power stations to join the strikes against the labour reforms that have seen oil refineries and fuel depots blockaded across the country.

And their call has already been heard with staff at the Nogent-sur-Seine plant to the south east of Paris having voted in favour of industrial action on Thursday and to put a stop on production.

Workers at other power stations may follow suit. Given France derives 75 percent of its electricity supplies from nuclear power, widespread strikes at plants could potentially have a huge impact on power supplies.

The Nogent-Sur-Seine plant has two reactors, one of which is already out of action due to a “technical problem”.

The CGT, which has called for the “strongest action possible” against the labour reforms, which they see as favouring businesses over the rights of workers.

“This is the moment to accelerate the mobilisation,” the CGT’s Marie-Claire Cailletaud told AFP.

Story continues below…

She said electricity supplies could be hit on Thursday and said that there had already been power cuts in parts of Nantes and Marseilles on Tuesday caused by the protests.

A spokesman for energy supplier EDF told AFP it would be difficult to predict any knock-on effect on electricity supplies from the industrial action.

“Everything would depend on how many join the strike,” he said.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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