French truckers set to strike

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Last-ditch talks aimed at avoiding a strike by French lorry drivers resumed in Paris yesterday as British hauliers braced themselves for repetition of the continental chaos caused by striking drivers last November. Negotiations between drivers and employers had broken down "amid considerable acrimony" according to the Freight Transport Association, but were set to begin again at 4pm British time. However, the Road Haulage Association, representing British firms, said they had been told by French unions that the strike was "90 per cent certain" to go ahead. The drivers are threatening to block ports, borders and 40 motorway points from 10pm tomorrow for an "indefinite period" if their demands for a 7 per cent pay rise are not met. They are also demanding a guaranteed salary of about pounds 1,000 for 200 hours of work a month.

- Randeep Ramesh