France's EDF to cut 5% of jobs

21st January 2016, Comments 0 comments

French electricity firm EDF announced Thursday plans to cut five percent of its staff over the next three years as it tries to face up to increased competition and difficult markets.

With a workforce of 67,000, that means some 3,350 jobs will go, although unions said as many as 4,200 posts may in fact be cut under the plan.

EDF said "increased competition and unfavourable market conditions in France and Europe require the company to adapt", although it said no one would be forced out of their job.

The reduction is considerably higher than the 2,000 that state-controlled EDF has previously announced it would cut, and comes as joblessness is a major political headache for France's Socialist government with unemployment near an 18-year high of 10.2 percent.

The staff cuts are "unacceptable" and together with a plan to find savings of 700 million euros ($750 million) over three years come at the "worst possible moment" for the company as it faces undertaking major refits of its nuclear power plants," said Philippe Page Le Merour of the CGT union.

Three unions called for a strike after the job cuts were announced, with a fifth of employees walking off the job, according to management.

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© 2016 AFP

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