- Employee representatives ask to be consulted before decision
- Trade unions say they'll sue if not consulted in advance
Electricite de France SA’s unions are threatening to take the company to court if employees are not consulted in advance on a decision concerning a proposed 18 billion-pound ($25.8 billion) U.K. atomic plant project.
EDF’s workers committee, which includes representatives from the biggest unions, met near Paris and voted to take legal action should the company fail to consult employees on Hinkley Point, according to a statement Thursday. The project is key to EDF earnings and has prompted disagreements between management and unions, it said.
“We ask that the workers’ committee is consulted before any decision by management or the board,” the committee said. If that didn’t happen then “the committee would be forced to take legal action to have any decision linked to the Hinkley Point project suspended or annulled.”
The threat marks the latest attempt by workers to delay a decision, given concerns about EDF’s finances amid falling power prices across Europe. Union FO has already threatened to call for a strike. EAS, an association of EDF employees holding the company’s shares, is asking the stock market regulator to require that the French government, which owns 85 percent of EDF, repurchases shares at the initial public offering price.
French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and EDF Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy have pledged to come up with a plan to shore up the finances of the state-controlled company by early May, saying the utility would risk losing the U.K. contract if it were to ask for a postponement.
That came after Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal resigned amid concern the U.K. project would put too much strain on the group’s finances. EDF on Thursday confirmed provisional CFO Xavier Girre in his role as the group’s finance chief.