Nuclear power plants, the other strike that is spreading and worrying the government

Nuclear power plants, the other strike that is spreading and worrying the government



[Article mis à jour à 13h31]

This strike is less noisy and affects less, for the time being, the daily life of the French than that of the employees of the refineries of TotalEnergies. But the social movement of employees of several French nuclear power plants, who are also demanding an increase in wages in a context of high inflation, worries the government. The mobilization, which began ten days ago, is gaining momentum. The strike was renewed Friday for the weekend, announced the CGT, thus affecting the maintenance of the sites, which reinforces the concerns of the government as for the availability of the French nuclear park for the winter to come.

The first consequences are also not long in coming. EDF announced on Saturday that it had postponed the restart of five nuclear reactors. Social movements can have an impact on the schedule for the return to production of certain reactors “Said a spokesperson for the group. ” For reactors in production, this may result in temporary power reductions “, she added.

EDF has thus updated on its site the restart date of several reactors, without however saying to what extent these delays were linked to the social movement: Cattenom 1, Cruas 2 and 3, Saint-Alban 2 and Tricastin 3. These delays range from one day to nearly three weeks depending on the reactors.

The strike in the nuclear power plants could “delay the return to the network of certain reactors”

A strike that has intensified for several days

In detail, several nuclear power plants have been facing strikes for wages for several weeks, including Tricastin (Drôme), Cruas (Ardèche), Bugey (Ain) and Cattenom (Moselle). Thursday, the Gravelines power plant (North), the most powerful in Western Europe, joined the procession. And on Friday, it was the turn of the Belleville-sur-Loire (Cher) power plant to mobilize, further extending the social conflict. In total, dyears these six nuclear power plants10 reactors were affected Friday by strikes.

According to Virginie Neumayer, of the FNME-CGTA, the list could still go on: two new sites could declare themselves strikers during the weekend “, in this case Paluel (Seine-Maritime) and Dampierre (Loiret), she said.

This movement aims to put pressure on the wage negotiations of companies in the energy sector, and in particular EDF, where a first meeting was brought forward to Tuesday in the face of the persistence of the conflict. The meeting will be held one same day as the call for an interprofessional strike movement which should be very followed. The CGT is demanding 200 euros for all employees, FO 5% general increase, while the CFDT is in the process of refining its proposal.

With regard to the conflict in the nuclear power plants, the CGT indicated on Friday evening that it will sign at the beginning of the week the branch agreement negotiated with the employers, which notably provides for a 3.6% increase in the national basic salary. over 2022 and 2023, including 2.3% for 2023. Its signature is sufficient to ratify a branch agreement, the 30% representativeness threshold still being valid at this level, whereas in companies, a majority agreement is now required.

It is now up to the company unions to negotiate additional measures to compensate for inflation.

After the refineries, call for a strike in the nuclear power plants

The French nuclear fleet weakened for this winter

If this strike has no impact at this stage for the general public and essentially weighs on EDF’s finances, it could ” impact the schedule “to make nuclear units available on the network, most of the power plants on strike being subject to maintenance operations, Claude Martin, of the FNME-CGT, told AFP.

Neither EDF nor the CGT were able to assess the percentage of strikers, the movements being covered by a notice from the federation but decided locally.

They affect the power plant management teams, which issue work permits and the fuel reloading teams, “ mostly strikers “, according to Ms. Neumayer.

There are slices that are in the reload phase, following revisions and so they are supposed to come back to the network quickly, but currently the strike is hitting these restarts “, assured Mr. Martin, who warned of the impact that this could have on the amount of energy available in France during the coldest period of winter, in the months of January and February.

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