Strikes continue in France as unions continue to oppose Macron energy reforms

Strikes continue in France as unions continue to oppose Macron energy reforms

The far-left French trade union GCT have called for nationwide strikes today to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s medium-term energy policy

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris

Photo: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

The far-left French trade union GCT have called for nationwide strikes today to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s medium-term energy policy announcement.

The Macron government’s announcement calls for the shutdown of several coal and nuclear power plants across the country. The government plan is to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power from 75% to about 50% by 2035 as well as shut down the remainder of France’s coal-fired power generators by 2022.

The CGT is opposed to the plan because they claim when it is fully implemented it will slash some 10,000 coal and nuclear power jobs. CGT protests throughout November have caused considerable disruptions to French power. For example, strikes that began on November 20 at the Penly 2 reactor cut power there by 900 MW.

Unless strikes over the government’s new energy plan expand to beyond the CGT, it is unlikely Mr Macron and his ministers will significantly alter their clean energy vision for France’s future. Nevertheless, the impact of CGT strikes is considerable and the job concerns of workers are real. Mr Macron must more explicitly state how he intends to transfer the jobs he will slash in coal and nuclear to cleaner energy operations like hydropower and solar.

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