Electricity cut off to hometown of French labour minister during pension strikes

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 8 Mar, 2023 Updated Wed 8 Mar 2023 09:32 CEST
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Pension reform protests on the streets of Annonay. The town was hit by deliberate power cuts. (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

Striking workers “deliberately” cut the electricity in the south-east France hometown of the country's labour minister during Tuesday’s pension reform protests.


RMC reported that the hardline CGT union targeted the 16,000-population town of Annonay in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with serious power cuts leaving some 2,000 homes without electricity on the afternoon of the March 7th protests.

Small-town Annonay does not often make national headlines and may seem an unusual target for direct-action protests, but it is the home of France's labour minister Olivier Dussopt, who has become the 'face' of the pension reform.

READ ALSO French pension strikes: What to expect throughout March

Dussopt was mayor between 2008 and 2017 before he entered the national government when President Emmanuel Macron was first voted into office.


The CGT confirmed that it wanted to deliberately target the town during pension reform protests, but stopped short of saying its workers cut power to parts of the town. A union official, however, claimed responsibility for blackouts elsewhere.

Blackouts were also reported in parts of the Drôme, Périgueux, Pas-de-Calais, and Lille. Industrial and commercial areas in the north of the country were targeted.

The union has previously said it intends to cut the power to towns which elected politicians who support the pension reform.

“Everything that happened is at the initiative of the CGT,” regional representative Romain Fronek told AFP. He warned of further action “throughout the week”, as protests against the Macron government’s controversial pension reforms continue.

READ ALSO French unions call new rolling strikes in March

Enedis confirmed the cuts, and said in a statement that it, “strongly condemns any illegal act on the public electricity distribution network, which in no way reflects its public service values”. 

It plans on filing a legal complaint.

Meanwhile, Stanislas Guerini, a ministerial colleague of Dussopt, was quick to condemn the power cuts. "We must distinguish the right to demonstrate (...) and power cuts," he told RTL, as he laid the blame for the blackouts at the door of “union organisations”.

"In Annonay, cuts affected entire neighbourhoods,” he added. “It's disgusting for the people who live in these neighbourhoods. The people who are affected are not the Minister of Labour, it is people living in Annonay.” 



The Local 2023/03/08 09:32

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