New York Times - Ships and Shipping

Friday, 14 September 2012

Industrial action brings forward Brittany Ferries union meeting

Directors from Brittany Ferries are due to meet French union representatives on Friday to try and resolve a dispute which left nearly 600 Plymouth-bound passengers stranded.

Brittany Ferries' Armorique
Brittany Ferries' Armorique stayed in Roscoff

The Armorique ferry was to leave Roscoff on Thursday afternoon.
But the sailing was cancelled as a result of industrial action by its French crew, affecting 575 passengers.
Unions were to talk with company management on Monday, but the meeting has been brought forward.
Ferry loading
The Armorique was due to leave Roscoff at 16:00 GMT (15:00 BST) on Thursday.
As a result of the sailing being cancelled, its planned return journey from Plymouth on Friday morning was also unable to go ahead.
The initial action was called by crew members who were angry at proposed changes of working terms and conditions put forward by their bosses.
Steve Warner, managing director of UK Brittany Ferries said: "It was very late in the day that we got notification of the 24-hour strike.
"People had been checked in and we were beginning to load the ship so we were left with a very difficult situation.
Passenger frustration
"It's very sad and any inconvenience that has been caused to our passengers is something we're very sorry about. We're optimistic that common sense will prevail."
Mr Warner said the 575 passengers were given the option of waiting for Friday afternoon's sailing or travelling to Normandy and sailing to Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries covering fuel costs, which many passengers opted for.
The Armorique is the only one of Brittany Ferries seven passenger ships striking and the union has confirmed the strike will not go beyond 24 hours.
James Hammond from Plymouth, who has been on holiday in France with his girlfriend and was due to sail on Thursday's ferry said when it became clear the it would not sail, he managed to find accommodation at a Roscoff hotel.
"I love France, so another day here is no bad thing, but if we don't get on the ferry today things could turn sour," he told BBC News.
"It's my mate's wedding in Shrewsbury tomorrow and if I miss it he'll kill me."
Mr Hammond said although he had been "fairly relaxed" about the situation, it had financial implications.
"My girlfriend's already missed a day at work and we've had to pay for the hotel last night," he said.
Mr Hammond had booked two nights in a hotel in Shrewsbury for his friend's wedding. Hotel staff have told him he will still need to pay for Friday night even if he is still stranded in France.
"There are no guarantees the ferry will sail today, but if it does when we get into Plymouth we'll have to drive through the night to Shrewsbury," he added.
Maralyn Bamford from Manchester, who was due to sail today, said: "[I'm] frustrated, upset, what do we do? I'm hoping they'll get us there as soon as possible but until it's sorted out in France, they can't really tell us anything."
Source: BBC, UK.

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