French strikers cut power to world’s largest fresh food market near Paris

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French energy workers protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform cut power to the world’s largest wholesale fresh food market. 

The power was cut at Rungis International Market near Paris on Tuesday, the hard-left CGT union’s energy branch said.  

A spokeswoman for Rungis said emergency power kicked in when the outage began 5.30am GMT and that there was no disruption to trade. The power cut lasted 90 minutes.

‘The power source to Rungis is cut this morning,’ the local CGT energy branch wrote on Facebook.

The power outage also halted services on the Orlyval rail shuttle serving Orly, the French capital’s second busiest airport.

The deliberate sabotage of power supplies underlines the growing determination of France’s left-wing unions to resort to wildcat action, after a wave of strikes and street protests since early December failed to force Macron to back down on his overhaul of the pension system.

Macron wants to streamline France’s Byzantine pension system and provide incentives for people to stay in work longer to pay for some of the most generous retirement benefits in the world.

The proposed reform would be the biggest overhaul of the system since World War Two and is central to the president’s drive to make the labour force more flexible and more competitive globally. 

Hardline unions oppose it and say workers will have to work longer to secure a full pension.

The Rungis market covers 234 hectares and generates revenues of 9 billion euros a year.

It comes after Macron was evacuated from a packed theatre by armed riot police on Friday night, after a mob of anti-government protesters tried to reach him.

The major security scare saw Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte leaving the Bouffes du Nord in the 10th arrondissement of Paris soon after 10pm.

Video posted on Twitter showed around 30 demonstrators storming the doors of the historic theatre, which is close to the Eurostar railway station in the city. 

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