19:46 GMT +316 July 2018
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    French Energy Trade Union Cuts Off Gas to Elysee Palace for 3 Hours - Reports

    CC BY-SA 3.0 / Remi Mathis / Elysee Palace
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    Activists of the energy workers' trade union association, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), shut off the supply of gas to the Elysee Palace, the residence of the French president, for three hours on Thursday, the television channel BFM reported, pointing out that the blackout occurred in the middle of the day.

    Commenting to BFM on their move, Olivier Fego, head of the trade union of power engineers and miners in the Ile-de-France region, underlined that "the action was held because of reports saying that the authorities intend to privatize the group in September-October this year, Electricite de France (EDF, Electricité de France), as well as all of its major subsidiaries, in particular Enedis (Enedis), France's largest power grid operator."

    "The representative of the Elysee Palace later denied these rumors in his speech, but we demand a written official assurance that such privatization will not take place in France. We have not received it so far, the presidential administration categorically refuses to do this," a trade representative stressed.

    READ MORE: French Public Sector Workers Protest Against Gov't Reforms (VIDEO)

    He thanked the French power engineers for their actions, noting that during Thursday's action, they had blocked access to more than 250 energy facilities, including a number of nuclear power plants and hydroelectric power stations.

    "We intend to seek from the authorities to fulfill our demands for the preservation of state enterprises and firms in the country and will continue to block at least six dozen energy facilities per day," Olivier Feguux said.

    The political action took place following the French government's recent decision to open the country's railway sector, currently monopolized by the SNCF railway company, to competition and put an end to the special status of railroad workers, which gives them the right to certain perks, such as early retirement and job security. The move sparked fierce protests among railway workers, as well as other groups supporting them.

    READ MORE: French National Assembly Passes Rail Reform Bill Amid Ongoing Strikes

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    trade union, blackout, Elysee palace, France
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