Strike by French power workers will not threaten supply

3 October 2002 – A 24 hour strike by French energy workers Thursday in protest against government plans to privatise the industry will not disrupt electricity supplies say unions.
The strike is likely to halt production at about a third of power plants currently operating in France but this loss can be compensated for, according to an official from the CGT union.
During previous strikes, the company has given reassurances that supply would not be disrupted as it would be able to compensate for any production losses.
Unions oppose government plans to sell stakes in state-owned utilities Electricité de France and Gaz de France, which they say will threaten jobs and the level of public service provided by the companies.
The union official said 50 000-60 000 energy workers will demonstrate in Paris on Thursday, with the turnout expected to be boosted by public-sector sympathisers from the post office, the Paris metro and France Telecom.
France, which can call on a maximum generation capacity of 115 000 MW when demand peaks in winter, is Europe’s second largest power producer after Germany and is the world’s biggest power exporter.
EdF, France’s main power producer, is one of the country’s biggest employers with a workforce of 115 000, while GdF has about 36 500 employees.

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