Workers for the state-owned gas and electricity companies (GDF and EDF) have begun a one-day strike after negotiations broke down on Tuesday.
According to company spokesmen the strike is being observed by 14.2% of workers at GDF (compared to 13.4% November 20th) and 13.5% at EDF (28%). There have been four strikes in the last six weeks, with observance reaching 60% in October. At the demonstration during the last strike a cortege of some 50 liberated EDF vehicules with their numberplates covered took part.
The strike is largely presented as a strike over pay, however workers have many other issues. Many workers are unhappy with the 'reforms' of their pensions and the government had promised one-off payments. Others are concerned about privatisation. The moves to privatise the companies are deeply unpopular across the board. Recently the government offered a 5bn euro increase in the higher education budget, paid for by privatising 2.5% of EDF.