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Cabin-boy

French Strikes - Updates

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As there is no single thread dedicated to the topic, I thought I'd create one now. Let's try and keep the posts to updates only rather than opinions and if anyone has maps of service stations that are either closed or open and/or other useful information please feel free to add a link.

The big national strike is due to start on Thursday this week but as a sort of 'amuse bouche' the refinery near Brest had been blockaded since Friday, stocks across Brittany are starting to run low and priority is being given to emergency vehicles. 

Ed. 

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Most refineries in the west have been blocked for several days and stocks have disappeared in panic buying. Very little available around St Malo!

This action is by building sector workers protesting against plans to cut reduced duty on diesel for their vehicles. Meeting with government today, so fingers crossed.

Thursday sees almost complete shutdown on railways (from Wednesday evening), Air France ground staff on strike (impact unknown), many local and regional bus and metro services not running. Police action (not yet seen detail). All these actions are by the main unions against the rationalisation of state retirement schemes. Currently all sorts of workers like train drivers, have packages a lot better than the standard.

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Watching closely as I am booked on Pont Aven out of St Malo on Thursday evening. I will post here any word I have from my news sources.

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For now...... the strike action is only scheduled for Thursday. Barring escalation, you should be OK, he says, crossing fingers and toes.

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The protesters failed to block the Donges refinery near St Nazaire yesterday and the depot at Vern sur Seiche near Rennes was unblocked by 130 Gendarmes at 04:00 this morning. We anyway were able to get some fuel in Pleurtuit yesterday, and the situation should ease fairly quickly. No news yet about the Brest and Lorient blockages.

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From the 'sailing updates' page:

France fuel protest

As a result of blockades at refineries, there are fuel shortages and rationing at some service stations. As a precaution, we are advising customers to depart with enough fuel to reach their destination in France. However, please note that the carriage of petrol/diesel cans on board our ferries is limited to 5 litres per vehicle.

Ed

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There are indeed a number of service stations closed or pretty close to running dry.

It is however worth saying that normally (and I stress normally - no guarantees of course) motorway service stations will continue to operate.  This is for the obvious reason that you can’t have dozens of vehicles running out of fuel on the motorway network.

 

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15 minutes ago, Gardian said:

This is for the obvious reason that you can’t have dozens of vehicles running out of fuel on the motorway network.

 

Surprised the strikers are bothered about that!

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The motorway service station between Angers and Nantes did apparently run dry yesterday for a while. That's not supposed to happen but there was an exceptional level of demand.  Ed. 

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Both of the speed cameras I pass regularly have again been damaged (with what looks like paint) in the last few days, presumably due to the ongoing strikes. Ed. 

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3 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Both of the speed cameras I pass regularly have again been damaged (with what looks like paint) in the last few days, presumably due to the ongoing strikes. Ed. 

Don`t mess about, these guys, do they?

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Portsmouth/Le Havre sailings on Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled due to the strike, not the weather:

PORTSMOUTH TO LE HAVRE / LE HAVRE TO PORTSMOUTH

9/12/19 - Portsmouth - Le Havre 21:30 - We are sorry to advise, that due to a Harbour strike in Le Havre, this sailing has now been cancelled. Please contact our reservations team on 01752 648637. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

10/12/19 - Le Havre to Portsmouth 17:00 - We are sorry to advise, that due to a Harbour strike in Le Havre, this sailing has now been cancelled. Please contact our reservations team on 01752 648637. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Ed

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Further strike-related cancellations at St Malo. 

09/12/19 Portsmouth to St Malo 20:15 - We are sorry to advise that due to a strike within the port of St Malo, this sailing has been cancelled. An additional sailing will be leaving on Tuesday 10 December at 20:15, arriving into St Malo at 08:00. Please call 01752 648637 to change to this departure or to discuss other alternatives. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused. 

09/12/19 St Malo to Portsmouth 20:30 - We are sorry to advise that due to a strike within the port of St Malo, this sailing has been cancelled. An additional sailing will be leaving on Wednesday 11 December at 10:20, arriving into Portsmouth at 18:20. Please call 01752 648637 to change to this departure or to discuss other alternatives. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused. 

Ed

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Just a quick update on the strike situation now the schools have broken up for the holidays. There are still serious problems on the trains around the country and on the rapid-transit system in Paris. Most trains have been cancelled, no further reserved tickets are being sold and those with reservations on the TGV network are being contacted with alternative options. The long-distance bus routes are more or less fully booked and car-sharing websites are doing great business. Even the car-rental companies are reporting a lack of available vehicles due to people renting them for one-way trips only despite the extra costs incured. The government had asked the unions to accept a Christmas truce but those representing both the SNCF (Syndicat National de Crétins Français) and the Paris RATP (Rentre Avec Tes Pieds) have refused so there is no real liklihood of the situation improving before the start of 2020 now. Ed

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Well, the situation has improved quite a bit, in relative terms, with more trains and RATP services running this weekend than previously expected. Approx 1 out of 2 TGVs, but less regional trains.

Next "big" action is scheduled for 9th January.

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4 minutes ago, colin said:

Well, the situation has improved quite a bit, in relative terms, with more trains and RATP services running this weekend than previously expected. Approx 1 out of 2 TGVs, but less regional trains.

Next "big" action is scheduled for 9th January.

That's the problem. 'Than previously expected' doesn't give people the confidence or time to make arrangements. You might have three trains to get you to work in the morning rush hour but only two coming back. What I also can't quite understand is that the government yesterday said that the SNCF had chartered 14 special TGVs to get unaccompanied children home to their families for Christmas (after President Macron looked like becoming the one ultimately responsible for 5,000 wailing kids). Where did these trains and drivers magically appear from? And why don't they do that for the rest of us if it's so simple? Ed. 

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In general both SNCF and RATP are giving fairly accurate information on a day to day basis about what will or won't run. Still hopeless of course if you are trying to plan ahead.

The children's trains are a response to the unaccompanied service being cancelled due to safety fears for the kids in stations full of angry people waiting hours for a train, and no doubt pushing and shoving when one appears! Perhaps a sort of humanitarian gesture by staff?

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There is further strike disruption in Le Havre early next week.

PORTSMOUTH TO LE HAVRE / LE HAVRE TO PORTSMOUTH

Friday 27/12/19 Le Havre to Portsmouth at 22:00: We’re sorry to confirm that, due to poor weather, this sailing has been CANCELLED. Please call 01752 648637 to discuss alternatives.

Sunday 29/12/19 Portsmouth to Le Havre at 20:45: We are sorry to advise that, due to a Dockers’ strike in the port of Le Havre, this sailing has been CANCELLED. Please call us on 01752 648637 to discuss alternatives. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Monday 30/12/19 Le Havre to Portsmouth at 15:00: We are sorry to advise that, due to a Dockers’ strike in the port of Le Havre, this sailing has been CANCELLED. Please call us on 01752 648637 to discuss alternatives. For passengers travelling without a vehicle, a coach transfer has been arranged that leaves at 13:30 local time from the Le Havre ferry terminal to Caen for the 16:30 departure to Portsmouth. Please call us to confirm if you would like to use this service.

Ed

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2 hours ago, rileyman said:

The channel was calm on the journey back from Antwerp - 21.00 26th Antwerp to 15.00 27th PIP. In fact one of the smoothest crossing we have experienced.

Did you have a good few days, and how clean were the cabins?  

I was down on the Dorset coast between Portland and West Bay yesterday to tidy up some family graves and aside from a few breaking waves there was just a light swell. It was a windless day and unfortunately that meant the misty drizzle didn't clear all day. I passed through Weymouth on the way home and the were still a number of people out walking on the beach. I had hoped to stop for an hour in town and see what was going on down at the old ferry terminal but neither I nor my father had the inclination to spend more time out in the rain than absolutely necessary. Plus Cabin-girl was busy emptying the shops at West Quay in Southampton and wanted picking up.

I'm travelling back to France via Newhaven tomorrow morning and for the moment it looks clear, maybe sunny and relatively calm too. Ed. 

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2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

  Cabin-girl was busy emptying the shops at West Quay in Southampton and wanted picking up.

 

For being so courageous in the face of this adversity, you deserve to be the recepient of the Legion d`Honneur...Salut

Have a good trip back Ed

Edited by Paully

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