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Union workers at French nuclear plants vote to join strikes

François Nascimbeni, AFP | Workers block access to the nuclear power plant of Nogent-sur-Seine on May 26, 2016.

France's CGT union workers voted on Wednesday to start rolling strikes in the power sector, including at all 19 nuclear power plants, as part of nationwide protests aimed at forcing the government to withdraw a disputed planned labour reform.

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The strike is expected to cut French power output from 1900 GMT on Wednesday as workers down tools at plants, but it is unlikely to lead to blackouts due to a rule that obliges unions to maintain a minimum output level that prevents outages.

State-controlled utility EDF may however be forced to increase electricity imports from neighbouring countries to meet demand.

"All power production sites voted to strike from Thursday. All 19 nuclear plants voted for the strike. We will start cutting power output tonight from 1900 GMT," Laurent Langlard, CGT union official at power utility EDF, told Reuters.

Blaming France's 'bloated' labour code
Blaming France's 'bloated' labour code

Langlard said CGT members at hydro and fuel-powered stations also voted for the strike.

The CGT branch of France's energy and mines trade union federation called earlier for members to vote for the strike including in the gas sector and halt gas injection into storages and block unloading of LNG cargoes.

The strike has also hit the French rail and oil sectors, disrupting fuel supplies and leading to a halt in production at five out of eight refineries in France.

(REUTERS)

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