The French government has insisted that a merger between state-controlled Gaz de France and Suez will go ahead as planned, despite a court ruling delaying the tie-up. The Court of Appeal decided it could not progress until GDF gave unions more information about the possible impact on jobs.
The merger is likely to be delayed until at least March, and France holds presidential elections in the spring. “It’s the government which is playing the ‘tight timetable’ card,” said a union representative. “So it can avoid a debate in a period of intense political discussion on major choices for the country.”
“The government wants Gaz de France to submit the calendar and the methods by which the merger will be finalised without delay to the company board,” said a government spokesman. The unions are against the tie-up, fearing rising costs for consumers and the loss of jobs. The opposition Socialists have talked about renationalising GDF, if elected next year.