French strikes disrupt fuel deliveries, power supply for fourth day
PARIS, March 10 (Reuters) - French workers protesting against proposed changes to the pension system blocked fuel deliveries from leaving TotalEnergies' and Esso refineries on Friday, while power supply was disrupted and maintenance at some of EDF's nuclear fleet was delayed.
Opinion polls show a majority of voters oppose President Emmanuel Macron's plan to delay the state pension age by two years to 64, but the government says the policy change is essential to ensure the pension system does not go bust.
Workers in the French energy sector have maintained the strike that started on Tuesday after a record number of people took to the streets as a part of a nationwide day of industrial action.
Six nuclear reactors had maintenance disruptions due to the strike, CGT union spokesperson Viriginie Neumayer said, including the Penly 1 reactor, which was identified as having a new corrosion crack this week.
French power supply was also reduced by 16.6 gigawatts (GW) at nuclear, thermal and hydropower plants, CGT said. Power supply disruptions have lasted for over a week.
That equates to about 25% of current total power supply, data from grid operator RTE showed. However, France was not importing power from neighbours, suggesting that domestic supply was meeting demand.
Operator EDF posted a notice for another strike action from the evening Tuesday March 14 to the evening of Wednesday March 15.
Deliveries were also disrupted at the Fos refinery, operated by ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso, a spokesperson for hardline union CGT said.
"The strike has been lifted at Port Jerome since Wednesday, but we are hopeful it will be there again next week," the CGT spokesperson said.
About 40% of the morning shift of refinery operators at TotalEnergies' sites were also continuing the strike, a company spokesperson said.
Disruptions at liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals continued, with company Fluxys saying that its Dunkirk terminal jetty and truck loading bay were unavailable and delivery capacity was reduced to a minimum.
The disruptions were expected to continue until Tuesday at 0600 CET (0500 GMT), Fluxys said. (Reporting by Forrest Crellin; editing by John Stonestreet, Jason Neely, Nick Macfie and Louise Heavens)