Several French trade unions walked out of a meeting with the economy minister on the nuclear sector on 18 July, saying they did not want their participation used as a cover to sanction decisions such as on EDF's Hinkley Point C NPP project in the UK. Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron was expected to meet the energy branch of the trade unions to discuss the restructuring of the French nuclear sector.
The unions, worried that heavily indebted state-controlled utility EDF is taking on too much, are against continuing with the GBP18bn ($23.4bn) Hinkley and have asked for it to be delayed. However, Macron has backed the project and said he expects EDF to make a final investment decision in September.
Representatives of several unions, including the CGT and FO, read a brief statement and then left the meeting. "Nothing guarantees us that this meeting is not a facade to endorse a decision that we do not agree to. Among others, we reject any forceful decision on Hinkley Point," the CGT, FO, CGC and UNSA unions said in a joint statement. The moderate CFDT union took part in the meeting.
"The minister regrets that the dialogue on all subjects could not take place even though several meetings have been held with the unions," a senior official at the Economy Ministry told reporters, adding that the ministry will pursue bilateral meetings with any unions that wish it.