Third day of sailors strike disrupts French port

French port closed for third consecutive day as sailors continue to strike causing major disruptions

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

MyFerryLink workers have continued to strike in Calais against Eurotunnel on Wednesday for a third day in a row, causing major interruption to the cross-Channel transport service.

The three-day strike which is expected to continue has caused major disruptions and queuing for UK-bound trucks along the motorway in Calais.

Meanwhile, in Britain, police had to close off areas in order to provide parking for around 3,000 trucks that were waiting to board ferries to France.

A port official who spoke to the Agence France-Presse said that the “port is still blocked,” and union officials have reported that the strike will continue.

“We will pursue our actions to make the French government budge,” said Eric Vercoutre, a union official who spoke from the northern French region.

“From midday Thursday we will carry out actions disrupting the tunnel,” said Vercoutre, adding that the strike is most likely to last 48 hours.

The call for a strike came on Monday following a decision of a court, which rejected a bid to extend MyFerryLinks contract with Eurotunnel - the operator of the undersea rail link between France and Britain.

This is the second time in over a week ferry workers went on a strike. On June 23, 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.

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

TRTWorld and agencies