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Cross-Channel ferry trips suspended because of French strike action over Brexit

Cross-Channel ferry crossings were disrupted Friday due to strike action in French ports, with travellers on some routes advised to postpone their trips.

Cross-Channel ferry trips suspended because of French strike action over Brexit
Photo: AFP

The northern French port of Calais, a hub for cross-Channel trade and travel, was shut Thursday by striking workers who want higher pay to deal with Brexit-realted complications and coronavirus rules.

The strike began at 8am and is set to last for 24 hours.

“As the largest passenger port in continental Europe, the port of Calais is simultaneously facing the Covid-19 crisis, Brexit and the migration crisis,” the sector branch of the FO union said.

Port workers fear a drastic increase in paperwork and waiting times when Britain formally leaves the EU trading bloc later this year, especially if there is no deal on the terms of the exit.

The coronavirus crisis might also lead to a greater work load due to health checks and quarantine regulations.

In addition, the FO pointed out that a planned extension of the port next year would raise traffic by some 30 percent.

Anyone travelling by ferry to northern France on Friday was advised to check with the ferry company before heading to the port, and several services urged their customers to find alternative means of transportation or postpone their trips.

No ferries were operating, with vessels of the DFDS and P&O companies either blocked in Calais or across the Channel in the English port of Dover.

 

DFDS UK also advised its customers to postpone their trip if possible.

 

P&O Ferries suspended its services as well and advised customers to postpone their trips while trying to transfer some of them towards other providers, “this is solely dependent on there being space available,” they wrote on Twitter.

Member comments

  1. I have always been amused by the phrase mouvement social as being British strikes are more of a mouvement anti-social. I realsie that’s franglais but it makes me laugh

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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