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    French energy union announces 'targeted power cuts'

    March 22, 2023 - Timo Kirez |



      The French energy union CGT Energy announced Tuesday more "targeted power cuts" as part of the fight against the pension reform, a day after it was approved in parliament.

      "We will again go in the direction of targeted shutdowns, what we call 'energy conservation,' because that in itself is an attack on capital, on those who govern us," FNME-CGT General Secretary Sebastien Menesplier said during a visit Tuesday to the picket line at the Gravelines nuclear power plant in northern France.

      "We will show them that we are mobilized and that we are determined," Menesplier said. "The anger is great," he added.

      Strikers in the energy sector have multiplied the number of power cuts since the start of the conflict over pension reform. They are also directly targeting parliamentary offices or politicians' homes.

      Recently, 43,000 households in the Var region of southern France or 32,000 in the Ardennes region of northern France were temporarily without electricity. "Yes, the actions are putting a strain on the economy of our companies and, inevitably, on that of the state," Menesplier said.

      But, the unionist continued, "We can't leave this movement without the certainty that this reform can be put in the closet."

      At the Gravelines power plant, in front of which unionists have set up roadblocks, operations have been running partially idle for several days, which the strikers say is costing the state money by forcing it to buy energy at higher rates.

      In addition, the strikes have delayed reactor maintenance, which could cause tensions in the French power grid next winter.

      The strong mobilization of employees in the energy sector can be explained, among other things, by the fact that they have more to lose from the reform than other occupational groups, since the abolition of their special pension system was announced.


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