Energy unions are facing challenges on several fronts. Leading gas company Centrica has faced major criticism from unions - GMB, UNISON, Unite and Prospect - when it followed up an announcement of 5000 job cuts with a plan to sack and re-hire 20000 staff on worse terms and conditions. The GMB union has already had a consultative ballot which showed 95% support for strike action and so a formal ballot will be undertaken. Meanwhile the GMB members at Northern Gas Networks have voted 98% in favour of industrial action on pay while Unite members at the Drax energy company have been balloted over action in protest at the company's plans to make 230 workers redundant despite a no-redundancy pledge last year.
Energy unions face major fights
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On 26 November, unions in the multinational energy companies ENGIE and EDF mobilised to defend jobs and the public energy sector, demanding the suspension of the companies’ restructuring projects. The unions argue that, if implemented, the plans will endanger both the future of employees and the French energy sector with little consideration of the disastrous social consequences. EPSU sent a message of solidarity for the action. Joint communique (FR)
Following mobilisations on 14 and 19 January in protest at restructuring plans affecting the ENGIE and EDF energy companies, trade unions have set dates for further action in February. The four energy unions are planning joint mobilisations on 4, 10 and 11 February to coincide with key debates in parliament. Strike action is planned for the 10th when the head of EDF will be taking part in parliamentary hearing. The unions have also been lobbying MPs, 83 of whom have joined with the unions in sending a letter to the government protesting against the EDF “Hercule” restructuring project.
The four unions representing workers in France's main energy company EDF - FNME-CGT, FNEM-FO, CFE-CGC and CFDT Chimie Energie - are continuing their joint actions in protest against the plans for major restructuring and privatisation of the company. After the widely supported strike action on 19 September, the unions have launched a petition and are planning a further day of strike action on 17 October.