Ferry sailors strike close French port

French port Calais closed off for the second time within same week as sailors go on strike

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Cross-Channel transport services between Britain and France was once again disrupted on Monday as French port workers went on a strike in Calais for the second time in a week.

The decision for a strike came after a court rejected a bid to extend MyFerrLinks contract with Eurotunnel, the operator of the undersea rail link between France and Britain.

The Local reported that a spokeswoman for the port of Calais advised motorists change travelling plans as well as avoid the port and also mentioned that “Ferry traffic has been completely suspended.”

On June 23, hundreds of passengers were stranded in both Calais and Dover as employees of the ferry service decided to go on a strike following Eurotunnel’s decision to sell the charter service to Denmark's DFDS in an effort to end a lengthy battle with British competition authorities.

However, the strike turned upside down as striking workers forced the closure of Eurostar and the French port with a wall of flaming tyres.

SCOP SeaFrance, the union that represents MyFerryLink employees, appealed to a French commercial court in Boulogne-sur-Mer to extend Eurotunnel’s contract with the ferry service in order to find a solution, yet the court rejected the request of the workers on June 29.

DFDS, which is expected to take over the ferry service on July 2, has been reported to only keep 202 out of 577 workers.

The joint statement released by the economy and transport ministers who commented on the court decision said that “Nevertheless, the decision does not absolve Eurotunnel from the obligation to continue to negotiate [with ferry workers] with the aim of finding an acceptable solution with regard to the jobs affected.”

According to Reuters, ferry workers had previously tried to buy the business from Eurotunnel themselves but failed to do so.

TRTWorld and agencies