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French electricity workers strike

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French electricity workers strike

Photo: EDF
Photo: EDF

Workers at France’s state-run electricity utility EDF will hold a 24-hour strike beginning at 9pm Paris time on Monday. The action is likely to result in some power outages but EDF – the world’s largest electricity producer with 58 active nuclear plants – has not confirmed this.

Monday’s strike is being led by the CGT trade union, which says the action is a response to cuts in social benefits provided by utility companies.

France has experienced an increase in industrial action in recent months. Massive walkouts paralysed the country’s public transport system in July after the government pushed through controversial new labour laws making it easier for companies to hire and fire. With the economically liberal Francois Fillon leading in polls for April’s election, it’s likely workers’ rights will continue to come under pressure.

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In an unfortunate coincidence, unseasonably cold weather is expected to hit France in the coming week, with temperatures dropping to as low as -6°C on Tuesday. Any sustained power outages could make life very uncomfortable indeed for the 77 per cent of French homes and businesses that are powered by EDF.

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