Channel blockade may be called off

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The Independent Online
Freight companies and ferry operators were hoping yesterday that Bank Holiday disruption of cross-Channel routes could be averted as French lorry drivers reached a deal with government officials just hours before a threatened ports blockade.

A P&O Ferries spokeswoman said they had been told that most of the unions had reached agreement with the French government and the planned day of action looked likely to be called off.

"One or two unions are still planning to strike [today]," she said, "but we are optimistic that they will reach agreement and that there will be no blockade ... We are telling day-trippers to turn up as usual." The lorry drivers were planning to strike over pension and retirement rights and had threatened to blockade all the main French ports today. A similar strike last year brought chaos to the Continent and Britain. Freight operators are still waiting for compensation from the French government.