June 19, 2018 / 7:06 AM / a month ago

EDF says strike hits hydro plants, data shows output unaffected

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s EDF said workers had gone on strike on Tuesday at the utility’s hydroelectric plants and that a fall in power output was possible, although latest data from the grid operator showed no dip for the moment.

Earlier, EDF said it had received notice from employees of their plans to launch a 10-day strike, the latest in a series of walkouts to hit the transport and energy sectors of the euro zone’s second biggest economy.

State-controlled EDF did not give more details on the impact of the industrial action.

Data on grid operator RTE’s website showed that at 1145 GMT hydropower output exceeded levels registered 24 hours earlier. Hydropower accounted for 10.1 percent of France’s power supply in 2017.

The far-left CGT trade union said in a statement that the strike was a protest against government plans to sell down the state’s stake in energy group Engie and against broader reforms in the energy sector.

The CGT workers are striking alongside workers from the left-wing Force Ouvriere union. They argue that energy is a strategic asset and should remain in public hands.

The industrial action at EDF comes after President Emmanuel Macron appeared last week to have broken the back of rail strikes over reform of the SNCF state railway monopoly after parliament approved new legislation.

Yet transport costs for grain firms have spiralled following the rail strike, raising the risk that the EU’s biggest crop producer could be saddled with more stocks than expected when the summer harvest arrives.

Air France too has been hit with strikes in a dispute over pay, although Air France unions on Monday suspended a planned four-day strike planned for this week.

Reporting by Bate Felix and Richard Lough; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Keith Weir

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