Strikes in France force government to import electricity

Nicolas Sarkozy

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, pictured here with his wife, has condemned the strikes in France for nearly paralyzing the nation. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The ongoing strikes in France have left the government no choice but to begin importing electricity. Striking workers have blockaded incoming shipments of fuel, among other shutdowns. France is mostly reliant on nuclear power for energy. The massive French strikes have caused fewer industries to able to produce at full capacity. Nicolas Sarkozy has blasted the strikers for holding the economy hostage.

Strikes in France shut down power plants

The current massive strikes in France are due to austerity measures being considered by the French government. Of the 58 nuclear power plants, which produce the bulk of electricity in the country, four have cut production because of a rolling strike while 12 are currently shut down for maintenance, according to The Telegraph. Compounding the electricity shortage is the shutdown of all of the fuel refineries in France. Gas stations are closing rapidly because of a near loss of all gasoline. The government has had to station riot police around gas stations and has begun importing electricity. President Nicolas Sarkozy has blasted the striking workers. saying they are holding France’s economy hostage. Air strikes have shut down airports and flights. The French aviation industry estimates the strikes have caused more losses than ash from the Icelandic volcano.

Labor unions and students protest

The legal retirement age in France is currently set at 60, and the age at which people may file for pension benefits, similar to Social Security in the U.S., is 65. The French government is considering raising retirement age to 62 and age for benefits to 67. The French strikes began after the measures were announced several weeks ago. Labor unions have called for strikes to continue. University students are opposed to the austerity measures as well. Students claim raising retirement age will result in longer careers, leaving fewer job opportunities for them upon graduation.

France held hostage

The strike in France has nearly paralyzed the country. Should the strikes continue for too much longer, the loss in revenue to all industries will likely result in mass layoffs.

Sources

The Telegraph

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