Dozens of roadblocks across France as drivers protest rising fuel prices

Roads across France have been blocked on Monday as drivers take part in mobilisations to protest rising fuel prices, with more disruption expected later in the week.

Protestors with tractors and heavy machinery block a road in France.
Protestors with tractors and heavy machinery block a road in France. They are angry about rising fuel prices. (Photo by FRED TANNEAU / AFP)

Truckers, taxi drivers and construction workers have been blocking roads across France on Monday, with further protests expected over the rising cost of fuel.

After a weekend of smaller scale protests, Monday saw disruption in several areas including;

  • Marseille

Taxi and other private vehicle drivers organised protests around Marseille and in the city centre on Monday morning, driving in very slow processions to bring traffic to a standstill – a method known as an opération escargot (snail operation) or a rolling roadblock.

  • Doubs

In the eastern département of Doubs, taxi drivers organised an opération escargot of their own, holding up traffic between the Franche-Comté train station in Auxons, all the way to a supermarket in Châteaufarine. They plan to encircle the town of Besançon.

  • Northern France

The north – a key area for European hauliers – was one of the hardest hit parts of the country, with truckers blocking the A1 and A23 motorways. They have also blocked transport hubs near Lens and in the city of Lille. In the Somme département, a short-lived blockade cut off traffic on the A1. 

In the Normandy département of Manche, truckers began blocking interchange between the N174 and the A84 motorway at about 5am, blocking heavy goods vehicles but allowing cars to pass. In Calvados, fisherman briefly blockaded a motorway toll station. 

  • Charente-Maritime 

The préfecture of Charente-Maritime, in the southwest, warned of traffic jams on N11. Blockages were also set up near Lagord at around 4am. The N237, connecting La Rochelle and Ile de Ré was blocked off. 

The Yelo bus depot was also blocked in La Rochelle, meaning that bus lines 1b, 7a, 8, 16, 11 and 13 are out of service. 

  • Brittany 

Monday morning saw extensive traffic in Brittany, with slow movements along the N165 and N137 – principally caused by effective opérations escargots

How long could this disruption last? 

Hauliers associations like the OTRE and FNTR called off their plans to protest on Monday after receiving €400 million in direct support from the government last week. 

A spokesperson for the FNTR told The Local that it did not have further plans for mobilisation during the week. 

But taxi drivers and regular car owners could come out in force later in the week, as they have not received the same support as the hauliers. 

As part of its resilience plan to insulate the economy from the war in Ukraine, the government will lower fuel prices by €0.15 per litre of fuel from April 1st. Tax payers, including non-drivers, will ultimately pick up the tab. 

READ MORE France’s plan to protect its economy from effects of Ukraine war

On Thursday, public transport workers in Paris and Ile-de-France will go on strike for an undefined period of time, with one union warning commuters that the action could be “long and hard”.

sMore details of the service disruption will be released on Thursday evening.

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Eurostar faces severe disruption at Christmas as staff vote to strike

High-speed train operator Eurostar will face security staff walkouts that will "severely" disrupt busy Christmas services, their trade union said on Wednesday.

Eurostar faces severe disruption at Christmas as staff vote to strike

Eurostar, which links London with Paris and Brussels, is the latest firm hit by strikes as salaries fail to keep pace with rocketing inflation in a cost-of-living crisis.

The RMT rail union said in a statement that members working as Eurostar security voted overwhelmingly to strike on December 16th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd.

“The strike action will severely affect Eurostar services and travel plans for people over the December period,” it added.

More than 100 staff had voted “emphatically” to reject a pay offer that was below inflation.

The RMT added that the security workers are employed by facilities contractor Mitie.

“Security staff are essential to the running of Eurostar and it is disgraceful they are not being paid a decent wage,” said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.

“I urge Mitie and Eurostar to come to a negotiated settlement with RMT as soon as possible.”

Britain faces a grim winter of discontent this year as strikes multiply across public and private sectors as pay is eroded by surging consumer prices.

Ambulance workers on Wednesday joined nurses in voting to go on strike ahead of Christmas.

Numerous other staff, from lawyers to airport ground personnel, have also held strikes this year as Britain contends with its worst cost-of-living crisis in generations.

UK inflation accelerated in October to a 41-year peak at 11.1 percent on runaway energy and food bills.