EDF workers strike in France, but limited impact on power production

FILE PHOTO: Electrical power pylons of high-tension electricity power lines are seen next to the EDF power plant in Bouchain, near Valenciennes, France, July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) -Around a quarter of workers at French power group EDF were on strike on Thursday over a planned reform of the company but there was no major impact on power output, according to EDF and France’s grid operator.

A previous strike over the same issue, on Nov. 26, had led to a fall in production from EDF’s nuclear power plants.

At 1230 p.m. (1130 GMT) hydro-electric production was at 13,276 megawatts (MW), down slightly from 14,460 MW at the same time on Wednesday, data from grid operator RTE showed. Nuclear power production was 45,555 MW versus 46,736 MW a day earlier.

The slight falls in hydro and nuclear power generation were partially offset by more wind power production.

EDF said Thursday’s strike was observed by around 27% of workers at midday, up from the 23% who downed tools, according to the company’s estimates, in the strike last month.

Trade unions said the company was under-stating the turnout for Thursday’s strike.

The reform plan that provoked the strike involves splitting EDF between its nuclear and renewable energy activities. Unions fear that would pave the way for a dismantling and privatisation of the group.

Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Forrest Crellin; Editing by Mark Potter