• France's news in English

Calais port stays shut as French strike goes on

AFP · 1 Jul 2015, 10:49

Published: 01 Jul 2015 10:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

There was more disruption for travellers hoping to get across the channel by boat on Wednesday as port workers and sailors from the transport company MyFerryLink continued their strike action.

The workers, who are battling to save around 300 jobs, blockaded the port as they have done since Monday using two of the MyFerryLink ferries.

However as of midnight on Wednesday they will no longer be allowed to occupy the ships.

The blockade has forced thousands to find alternative routes across the Channel or simply cancel their trip.

Ferry operator P&O was once again forced to warn customers that services are cancelled.



There were also reports of huge tailbacks on the A16 that links Calais to the nearby port of Dunkirk as well as major problems on the UK side where lorries were lined up on the M20 as part of “Operation Stack”.



Eurostar trains and Eurotunnel passengers services were running as normal Wednesday after being cancelled for
several hours Tuesday, the companies announced.

But freight traffic on the Eurotunnel is still affected.

Authorities are still advising travellers and truck drivers to avoid the Calais and Dunkirk area completely.

(MyFerryLink workers start a fire to block the Channel Tunnel on June 23rd. AFP)

Striking workers for MyFerryLink were due to hold a meeting on Wednesday morning to take a vote on whether to continue their action.

They could also decide to ramp up their protests and cause the kind of travel chaos seen on Tuesday and on June 23rd when they started fires to block access to the Channel Tunnel.

The head of the Syndicat Maritime Nord union Eric Vercoutre, who has been a spokesman for the strikers has threatened to up the ante on Thursday and Friday.

That could see them block the Channel Tunnel once again with Vercoutre saying an intervention from police does not scare them.

Eurotunnel is pressing charges against the 28 protesters who broke onto the tracks, but has repeatedly asked French authorities to boost security around the site.

The dispute centres around Eurotunnel's decision to sell two of the MyFerryLink boats, which were formerly Sea France, to Danish company DFDS after being warned by the UK's competition authority. 
Once MyFerryLink ceases operations on Thursday DFDS will take over, but the Danish company has said it will only keep 202 out of 577 workers, reported the Reuters news agency.
Eurotunnel will keep a third MyFerryLink boat running but will only employ around 100 workers, essentially meaning half of the current staff will lose their jobs.

MyFerryLink had wanted extra time to find a solution but on Monday a court in Boulogne dismissed their appeal, which prompted the latest strike action.

Story continues below…

Some of the thousands of migrants camped out around the port in Calais have been trying to use the cover provided by the unrest to stow away on trucks headed across the water to Britain.

The ferry route from Dover in England to Calais is one of the busiest in Europe, with British holidaymakers using it to get to the Continent by car.


Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available