Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told trade union leaders Tuesday he would press ahead with reform of France’s state-owned power and gas giants despite threats of strikes.
Sarkozy told union leaders he plans to introduce a draft law in early June to give Electricite de France and Gaz de France the status of ordinary companies – paving the way for listing their shares and selling some of them on the stock market.
The minister’s comments came as he and Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy separately met with workers’ representatives in a bid to calm growing trade union discontent over the government’s broader reform agenda.
Sarkozy said he was determined the plans for the utilities should “suffer no delay” as EdF gears up for increased competition starting in July, when 70 percent of the power market is to be opened to private sector rivals under European Union rules.
But Frederic Imbrecht, leader of the energy arm of France’s powerful communist-leaning CGT union, said he was “not convinced” by the minister’s arguments.0