France’s main energy workers union is threatening to cut power supplies for the Cannes Film Festival next month as part of ongoing protests against unpopular pension reforms.
In a communiqué bannered “100 Days Of Anger! 100 Days To Win”, the CGT FNME (Fédération National des Mines et de l’Enérgie) said it would target a number of big events scheduled to take place in France over the coming weeks.
“In May, do what you like! The Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Roland Garros tennis tournament, the Avignon Festival, could all find themselves plunged into darkness,” the union said. “We’re not giving up.”
The statement comes amid an ongoing stand-off between the government of President Emmanuel Macron and the French unions over controversial pension reforms.
Under the overhaul, the official retirement age in France is set to rise by two years to 64 by 2030 while the period over which workers will need to make social security contributions will increase to 43 years from 42 years to draw a full state pension by 2027.
Macron and his government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne have pushed the reform bill through without a parliamentary vote, which was then signed off by the country’s constitutional court on April 14.
The country’s unions are refusing to accept the decision as definitive and have pledged to carry on protesting until the reforms are overturned.
In a televized address on April 17, Macron said he was giving himself 100 days – the period from then until the country’s July 14 Bastille Day celebrations – to heal the country after the tension of the last three months.
The unions have responded to his speech with the “100 Days of Anger” campaign.
Energy union CGT-FMNE said its members would participate in national days of street protests and strike action planned for April 28 and May 1.
It added that it was planning an “Anger in the Energy Sector” day for May 3. In addition, the union said it would aim to disrupt energy supplies in places and events involving President Emmanuel Macron and his government.
Speaking to French news channel BFMTV on Monday, the CGT-FMNE Federal Secretary Fabrice Coudour confirmed the plans to disrupt public events.
“We’re showing that we’re not turning the page. We’re still angry and we want to express it where it’s possible, particularly in public events,” he said.
“Our aim isn’t to stop them going ahead but rather to make ourselves heard locally and by elected politicians. We don’t doubt that even at the Cannes Film Festival or elsewhere there are personalities who share our point of view,” he added.
Last month, more than 300 leading figures from the French film and TV world signed a petition decrying the reforms.
The Cannes Film Festival unfolds from May 16 to 27.