Dockers strike disrupts French ports

7th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

A strike by French dockers paralysed freight and transport and an oil terminal at France's biggest port of Marseille on Friday and caused severe disruptions at Le Havre, the second busiest, operators said.

Paris - A strike by French dockers paralysed freight and transport and an oil terminal at France's biggest port of Marseille on Friday and caused severe disruptions at Le Havre, the second busiest, operators said.

The strike was called by the main CGT union in all of France's seven ports to protest the privatisation of services launched last year.

The GPMM port authority said freight services at Marseille-Fos port were paralysed since late Thursday and that only one of the two oil terminals was running.

"As far as we know, participation in the strike is 100 percent," said a spokeswoman. Ferry services were not however affected.

At Le Havre, most of the 1,800 dockers went on strike, causing major disruptions to freight services but the oil terminal and ferry liaisons to Britain were running, said the GPMH port authority.

Pascal Galeote, head of the CGT dockers' union in Marseille, said the changes to operations under a 2008 law were "catastrophic for all of the ports."

"In Marseille, we are not spared. Private operators are unable to offer long-term guarantees to employees who are being transferred" from state management during tough economic times, he said.

Under a law adopted in July last year, France's seven major ports are turning to private companies to run many of their services in a move to make them more competitive.

AFP/Expatica

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