On Thursday, the French government’s plans to raise the retirement age had a minimal impact on the energy sector, slowing down some fuel deliveries and reducing hydroelectric output.
According to data from Belleville 1’s operator EDF (EDF.PA), the strike reduced power output by 1 gigawatt (GW) from the nuclear reactor. The results showed that the hydropower supply was unaffected despite having decreased by 1.7 GW earlier.
In contrast, on a day of statewide strikes on January 19, output dropped significantly by about 6.6 GW, or about 10% of the nation’s total, prompting France to buy power from its neighbors.
Spot electricity prices increased marginally on Friday as a predicted decline in demand and an increase in wind output somewhat offset any uncertainty resulting from the trade union’s request for a two-day walkout.
Although deliveries were partially hampered, strike activity at oil refineries also decreased.
72% of French people oppose the pension change, according to an Elabe study conducted for BFM. Who will prevail in the conflict between the government and the unions cannot yet be predicted.
On January 19, a million or more people marched through French cities in support of labor unions. On January 31, there will be a second nationwide day of strikes, affecting all industries.
Unions have previously stated that they anticipate increased industrial action in the energy industry on February 6, when a 72-hour strike is set to begin and may be extended.
The government, which lacks an absolute majority in the legislature, is still unsure if it will secure all the votes required from the conservative Les Republicains to pass the pension reform.
How long and how frequently employees can afford to strike is another dilemma in the midst of a cost-of-living problem fueled by inflation.
A CGT union spokesperson for Exxonmobil remarked, “Oil workers are against this (pension) reform but they don’t want to be on the front line.”
The union spokesman continued, “But there is nothing spectacular planned at our sites, no well-organized pickets or obstructions. The purpose is to sustain pressure on the government and to inspire workers from other industries to mobilize.”
Only truck loading activities at Fos were halted, according to a representative for Esso, whose two French refinery sites are managed by ExxonMobil (XOM.N). All other operations continued as usual.
The manufacturing at the Port Jerome location was marginally hampered, a union representative stated.
At its facilities in La Mede, Donges, and Normandy, TotalEnergies also reported that fuel deliveries had been halted, but it noted that it was still working to keep gas stations stocked. It said that the Feyzin refinery site was unaffected.
“The aim is to sustain pressure on the government and to inspire employees from other sectors to mobilize,” the union spokesman continued. “But there is nothing spectacular planned at our locations, no well-organized pickets or roadblocks.”
Only truck loading operations were paused at Fos, according to a representative for Esso, whose two French refinery sites are managed by ExxonMobil (XOM.N).
According to a union spokesman, output at the Port Jerome location was marginally affected.
Additionally, TotalEnergies stated that fuel deliveries were hampered at its La Mede, Donges, and Normandy facilities, but added that it continued to ensure that gas outlets were stocked. It also said that the refinery site in Feyzin was unaffected.