Wildcat strike disrupts Calais ferry port

3rd April 2014, Comments 0 comments

Angry dockworkers went on a wildcat strike Thursday at the French port of Calais, disrupting operations at the ferry gateway to Britain.

Local officials said talks were underway to resolve the dispute that broke out overnight at the port, which is the departure point for cross-Channel ferries to Dover in Britain.

About 80 dockworkers and crane operators launched the strike after a private firm was called in to unload a ship at the port, which is operated by the regional government.

Port authorities said there were disruptions at the port but some arrivals and departures had resumed in mid-morning.

An AFP reporter said long queues of vehicles were backed up on roads leading to the ferry terminal and that some traffic was being re-directed to the undersea cross-Channel tunnel.

Ludovic Levaillant of the CGT union said they had been blocking the entrance to the terminal since midnight.

"We have had a meeting with the region, our employer, and for now they don't want to hear about it," he said, adding that unions feared the region was setting a precedent by allowing a private contractor to work on the site.

The strike is set to continue for 24 hours unless called off.

The local administrative tribunal said it had received a request from regional authorities for a court order ending the strike.

In a statement on its website, P&O Ferries, which operates routes between Dover and Calais, said it was running a "limited service" due to industrial action and urged travellers to rebook "non-essential" travel.

© 2014 AFP

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