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Workers at France's EDF to strike again January 30; action still planned January 25

London — * Labor unions call for industry-wide strike next Tuesday
* Third strike by EDF workers this month
* Last strike had little impact on generation fleet, prices

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Workers at France's EDF will strike for 28 hours starting next Monday at 5 pm local time, the company said in a note posted on the website of French grid operator RTE Wednesday morning.

The latest strike will start January 30 at 5 pm and will impact most of Tuesday, January 31, before ending at 9 pm, EDF said, without giving any details on the amount of capacity that could be affected.

EDF workers are also set to go on strike today for 28 hours starting from 5 pm local time.

The notice of the latest EDF action comes only one day after Uniper announced workers at its Emile Huchet 600 MW coal-fired unit 6 and 400 MW gas-fired units 7 and 8 in France could strike next Tuesday.

Uniper, the now separated conventional generation business of E.ON, said labor unions representing professionals in the energy industry were calling for a national action day on January 31.

The call to strike comes against the backdrop of a proposal to freeze the national base salary this year.

"The major concerns of employees -- remuneration, job cuts, site closures, mean that January 31 has to be a 'dead business day,' resulting in decreases in load, in addition to the strike," Vincent Hernandez, secretary-general of the Force Ouvriere union for mines and energy said in an article published last Friday.

Force Ouvriere, along with four other trade union federations including the General Confederation of Labor's (CGT's) energy branch the National Federation for Mining and Energy, called for the opening of wage negotiations for 2017 and said January 31 should be "a day of unitary mobilization."

The strike by EDF workers next week would be the third such action this month, with the 28 hour action planned for today coming on the heels of workers last week joining a call for a national action day organized by the country's main energy trade union, FNME-CGT. This was also against the proposal to freeze salaries for workers in the electricity and gas industries this year, among other reasons.

The strike by EDF workers had a limited impact on power prices, however, and the impact on generation capacity was also minimal, with only two nuclear reactors operating at reduced capacity. Overall 3 GW of capacity was slashed during peakload hours.

The 900 MW Cruas-2 reactor was operating at around 500 MW due to the strike, while the 900 MW Gravelines-6 unit was operating at about 550 MW.

Two fuel oil-fired units of around 600 MW each were meanwhile taken offline completely due to the strike last week, while two coal-fired units were operating at reduced capacity, according to RTE.

--Ana-Maria Tolbaru,
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,