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French port workers’ strike: UK ferries not expected to be affected

The lower number of passenger services between France and the UK due to being off-peak season means crossings should be maintained

Ferry travel between France and UK ports should not be affected by a French dock workers’ strike tomorrow (January 26) Pic: Brittany Ferries

Ferry travel between France and UK ports should not be affected by a French dock workers’ strike tomorrow (January 26), press secretary of French ports and a Brittany Ferries’ spokesperson told The Connexion.

The federation for the CGT, one of France’s main unions, for ports and docks professionals has called for a 24 to 48 hour long strike starting tomorrow. It is to be part of a second round of demonstrations against government plans to reform retirement laws in France and in particular to increase the minimum age from 62 to 64.

Over one million people took to the streets nationwide in the first day of protests at the reforms on January 19, according to figures from the Ministry of Interior.

Read more: Pension protests France: new strike day set after million plus march

However, travel from French ports to the United Kingdom should not be affected, mainly because there are not many ferry crossings due to it being the low season and thus services can be maintained.

“The strike and the next one planned for January 31 will not impact travellers to the United Kingdom,” said Yannick Millet, director of Cherbourg’s port (Manche), adding that it was similar for the first strike on January 19. 

Read more: France pension reform: strike and protest dates, calendar for bill

All crossings from Le Havre to the United Kingdom will be shutdown tomorrow, a press secretary for Haropa port - an economic interest grouping reuniting ports of Le Havre, Rouen (Seine-Maritime) and Paris (Ile-de-France) - said.

However, Brittany Ferries’ press secretary Claude Pengam said only freight travels from Le Havre would be affected. The company is the only one to run services to the UK from the port. 

“The tourist season starts around March. The incidence will be lowered in that period, “ he said, explaining that dockers’ working-rotation was enough to guarantee maintaining the low number of crossings.

Even so Brittany Ferries have rescheduled two crossings from Portsmouth to Saint-Malo and the return leg. The Portsmouth to Saint-Malo initially scheduled for 20:15 is delayed to the next day at the same time while the Saint-Malo to Portsmouth planned for today at 20:15 is delayed to tomorrow (January 26) at 10:30.

While Brittany Ferries told The Connexion traffic remained unchanged despite the strikes, competitor P&O Ferries services shut down services on all French ports during the first strike on January 19, according to BBC News. 

The CGT federations which unite workers in the chemical, ports and docks and energy industries have also called for another 72-hour strike on February 6. Workers from the energy sector have already agreed to join.

The CGT federation for ports and docks is calling for the government to return the retirement age to 60 for all, lowered to 55 for more strenuous jobs. 

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