Calais strikes: French ferry workers block access to Channel Tunnel terminal

French farmers are currently pursuing a separate dispute over prices

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The Independent Online

French ferry workers have blocked the Channel Tunnel terminal near Calais after setting fire to tyres, sending huge clouds of acrid black smoke into the skies, and bringing travel misery to thousands of motorists.

The workers' action, which is scheduled to resume later on Tuesday afternoon, is the latest protest over a dispute over possible job cuts.

Tail-backs for many miles were reported on the A16 motorway south of Calais after the ferry workers blocked both carriageways at the Channel Tunnel junction as smoke billowed across the French countryside.

At the same time, French farmers were pursuing a separate dispute about prices, blocking several towns and motorways in western France and cutting road access to Mont St Michel in Normandy for the second day running. The Pont de Normandie, a viaduct across the river Seine near Le Havre much used by British tourists heading south, was among the roads blocked by tractors and heaps of manure.

The Calais ferry workers' dispute had fallen silent during round-table talks between the French government, Eurotunnel and a small local seamen’s union and workers' cooperative. The protests resumed today after a meeting failed to break the deadlock on Monday.

Until last month, the ferry workers operated the My Ferry Link service, formerly Seafrance, using three boats bought in 2012 by Eurotunnel. They want the French government to reverse a decision by Eurotunnel to abandon the service and sell two of the boats to its Danish cross-channel rival DFDS.