Protesters in Versailles on January 20 2020 as part of a nationwide multi-sector strike against the French government’s pensions overhaul. Picture: AFP/PHILIPPE LOPEZ
Protesters in Versailles on January 20 2020 as part of a nationwide multi-sector strike against the French government’s pensions overhaul. Picture: AFP/PHILIPPE LOPEZ

Paris — On Tuesday, French energy workers protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform cut power to the world’s largest wholesale fresh food market, Rungis near Paris, the hard-left CGT union’s energy branch said.

A spokesperson for Rungis International Market said emergency power kicked in when the outage began at 5.30am GMT and that there was no disruption to trade. The power cut lasted 90 minutes.

“The power source to Rungis is cut this morning,” the local CGT energy branch wrote on Facebook.

The power outage also halted services on the Orlyval rail shuttle serving Orly, the French capital’s second busiest airport.

The deliberate sabotage of power supplies underlines the growing determination of France’s left-wing unions to resort to wildcat action, after a wave of strikes and street protests since early December have failed to force Macron to back down on his overhaul of the pension system.

Macron wants to streamline France’s Byzantine pension system and provide incentives for people to stay in work longer to pay for some of the most generous retirement benefits in the world.

The proposed reform would be the biggest overhaul of the system since World War 2 and is central to the president’s drive to make the labour force more flexible and more competitive globally. Hard-line unions oppose it and say workers will have to work longer to secure a full pension.

The Rungis market covers 234ha and generates revenues of €9bn a year.

Reuters