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French energy unions plan day of action against dismantling of EDF

14 January, 2021Energy unions will hold a day of action on 19 January to show their opposition to the Hercule project, the planned break up and partial privatization of energy giant Electricité de France (EDF), during a climate and public health crisis.

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The four IndustriALL Global Union affiliates - FNME-CGT, CFE-CGC Énergies, FCE-CFDT and FO Énergies et Mines - held previous days of action on 26 November, 10 and 17 December, as well as strike action in 2019, to show their opposition to the plan to carve up a vital national asset.

The unions argue that EDF is a crucial resource, and that privatization will remove democratic accountability and social dialogue from energy transition. They are concerned by the lack of transparency, and the determination from the government and senior EDF leadership to push through the project despite strong opposition. Many prominent public figures, including members of parliament and mayors, have supported the call by the unions and condemned the Hercule project.

In a joint statement calling for a renewed push to stop the Hercule project, the unions said:

“Whatever the Hercule project's supporters say, the dismantling of EDF that it would set in motion would be an economic, industrial and social disaster, and would mean the end of EDF's very purpose in serving the general interest.

“We cannot allow political leaders and EDF's senior executives to destroy our company for the sake of bending to the dictates of competition, the market and finance, with no regard for the common good of the nation.”

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches wrote to the unions to express solidarity, saying:

“IndustriALL Global Union strongly supports your belief that energy is a public good and a strategic sector. There can be no strong and sustainable economy without energy independence and infrastructure development. The splitting of energy activities through the Hercule project leads to nothing other than the gradual dismantling of the energy giants.”