Brittany Ferries restart tomorrow

Cross-Channel services set to resume after deal to end 10-dispute that hit 55,000 passengers

BRITTANY Ferries services will restart tomorrow afternoon after unions signed a deal to end the dispute that has kept ships tied up at quayside in France and Spain for the past 10 days.

The dispute has so far affected 55,000 travellers and 4,500 freight vehicles.

First restarted sailing will be the Roscoff-Plymouth service at 15.45, followed by Caen to Portsmouth at 16:30; Portsmouth to Santander 17:00; Portsmouth to St Malo 20:15; Cherbourg to Poole 20:00; Plymouth to Roscoff 22:00; Portsmouth to Caen 22:45; Caen to Portsmouth 23:00.

The Poole to Cherbourg service at 15:30 will also run - it is the only service not to have been hit by the dispute as it is run by Condor Ferries.

However, the Portsmouth to Santander sailing at 11:00 on Wednesday has had to be cancelled as the ship is "out of position".

Passengers booked on ferries today are still being advised to head for Calais and Dover where free crossings have been organised.

Company bosses had halted all services because of a series of wildcat strikes that hit sailings. Crews had been protesting about a proposed new contract that cut some bonuses and imposed new working rotas.

The changes were part of a bid to cut losses at the Roscoff-based company which last year lost €18million - and over the past four years has lost €70m. The new proposals will cut costs by €6m.

Officials from the CGT union signed the deal after a marathon phone and text session where they contacted nearly 1,300 crew yesterday to ask them their views on the plan. It is not clear if the CFDT union also signed.

The staff received phone calls or text messages asking them to vote Yes or No to a union question on whether it should sign the deal or not. However, delays in sending messages and getting replies meant the planned signing did not take place until 3.00 this morning when it was found that 58.68% of members had back the plan to go back to work.