The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on the French government to end the chaos in Calais after ferry workers threatened a second week of cross-Channel disruption.
A four-day strike by MyFerryLink workers saw burning tyres thrown on the Eurotunnel tracks and 30 miles of lorries stacked on the M20 in Kent. Industrial action was suspended yesterday (Thursday 2 July) but further walk-outs are threatened from next Tuesday (7 July) and FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham says enough is enough.
He said: “The overall cost to the UK’s economy of this week’s industrial action could run into hundreds of millions pounds. Drivers were stuck for days in their trucks on both sides of the Channel in blistering heat and deliveries throughout the country were affected.
“This can’t be allowed to continue. The French government needs to end this madness now before we see more chaos at the ports, more lorries stacked on our motorways and more damage to the UK economy.”
FTA members came to the aid of fellow truckers who were stranded on the motorway during this week’s action by offering to deliver water, soft drinks and dried food.
And the Association has agreed to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for news about any future action after requests from its members on the British Shippers’ Council for a reliable source of information about problems on the ferries and roads. These members are the owners of the consignments on board the affected vehicles who are losing millions of pounds a week through delayed deliveries and missed deadlines.
FTA will use its twitter account @newsfromfta to provide regular updates and collate information from sources including Eurotunnel, the Port of Dover and Kent Police.
Hookham added: “We are doing all we can to help our members cope with the situation by offering advice and information, but the uncertainty will be crippling for some businesses. The ongoing problem with migrants at Calais is bad enough without the threat of strikes hanging over them. We need a strong intervention by the French government with a firm commitment that no further industrial action will be taken.”