January 23, 2020 / 8:32 AM / a month ago

Strikes over pension reform reduce French power generation

FILE PHOTO: French labour unions and workers on strike demonstrate against French government's pensions reform plans near the train station in Versailles as the French President welcomes world top business leaders for the "Choose France" summit, at the Chateau de Versailles, France, January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes -/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Strikes by workers protesting against plans to change France’s pension system reduced power generation by more than 3 gigawatts by 0725 GMT on Thursday, including 1.8 GW at hydro power stations, data showed.

The disruption represents around 3.7% of available production capacity as of Thursday morning, data from RTE and state-controlled power group EDF (EDF.PA) showed.

Electricity demand is forecast at around 81 GW due to cold weather. France was a net power importer during the morning peak demand period, the data showed.

President Emmanuel Macron wants to simplify and streamline France’s existing set-up of 42 different pension schemes, in a move which he argues will make the system fairer but which critics say will result in people having to work for longer.

Trade unions have led protests against the pension reforms since December, with several of the demonstrations having been marred by violence.

Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Jason Neely

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