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French Strike: Electricity Workers Light Poor Homes On Christmas, Cut-Off Power To Police And Big Business

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There is no “Christmas truce” for the workers of the Electricity Company of France (EDF) who are on strike. Workers are reconnecting service to poor families and lowering the price of tariffs to popular sectors, while cutting off power to police stations, intendancies and large companies.

Since the beginning of the strike on December 5, electricians and energy workers maintain power outages against Macron’s pension reform. A method of struggle that exposes the strength of the workers and the strategic place they occupy, with the possibility of paralyzing government buildings and large companies with power outages. While the strike has had a greater impact among workers of the SNCF (railway), the RATP (metropolitan transport company in Paris), the National Education or even health, energy workers are not far behind.

Among them are electricians and gas workers. Of the main companies in the sector there are 41.4% of striking workers in EDF (Electricity Company of France), 39% in Engie and more than 60% in Enedis. From Tuesday, December 10, the strikers voted in assemblies to generate localized power cuts. Michaële Guégan, director of human resources at Enedis, the most important electricity distribution network, notes that there have been selective cuts “in certain public buildings, a commercial area in Bordeaux, a university in Lyon and even a hospital center.”

Workers announced that tens of thousands of poor households are being reconnected to have electricity and gas during the holidays. Thanks to the actions of the Electricity of France (EDF) workers, the poorest families will enjoy an illuminated dinner. This will reduce the power supply of the richest areas of cities, shopping centers, police stations and prefecture to leave them in total darkness.

At the same time, the workers changed 80,000 users in the Lyon region to the category of low consumption, and justified their action by saying that “energy is not a commodity” but is “essential goods, whose access must be guaranteed to all.” This action generated enormous sympathy among the popular sectors and a great anger among the businessmen and politicians who consider it a crime.

In fact, these actions had consequences for the strikers, the union is being targeted by government repression and judicial prosecution. This Thursday, the 20th secretary general of the CGT energy of Lille was arrested and prosecuted.

These methods of the workers strike directly in the pocket of the capitalists by taking energy away from commercial sectors of the cities or from productive units to give to those who have less, even making the energy transfer in the schedules where the electric tariffs have a differential of consumption touching the pocket of the energy company itself.

Nicolas Noguès, deputy secretary general of the CGT energy department of Seine-Saint-Denis, explained how they hit industrial and commercial areas such as Andorra or the city of Dieppe that contains important industries. They also cut the 400 kW Germany-France line. All millionaire businesses. Bastien, an activist worker at EDF, said  “we take the kilowatts of the richest and return them to the poorest .  This means of action, beyond the fact that it penalizes energy suppliers by drastically reducing profits, has the merit of having a positive impact on households, since millions suffer from the country’s energy deficit.

These actions, which have found enormous support among the population, show that the fight against pension reform is not corporate, as denounced by the French Government, but that the workers demonstrate that this strike movement is strongly marked by class solidarity.

In France, this solidarity has been expressed among workers and students from different sectors, whether in the SNCF, RATP or among teachers. Thus, students who go to the picket lines from December 5 are welcomed with open arms by the workers, the same for teachers. But this solidarity does not stop in simple words and simple support, it manifests itself in the actions that are carried out daily. A great example is that of energy workers who will enlighten millions of families during the “good night”, poor families that are of their own class, the worker. This is the enormous force that emerges from the base of the movement and that can allow the defeat of Macron’s reform and its policies.

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