Millions of pounds worth of food is being wasted and the whole UK supply chain threatened by the strike at the port, exacerbated by illegal migrants harassing lorry drivers and private vehicle drivers bound for Dover, warned the association.
‘End this madness now’
While industrial action was suspended last Thursday (July 2), further walk-outs were threatened today, leading FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham to urge the French government to: “End this madness now.”
Hookham 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 had a responsibility to resolve the industrial dispute before more chaos was caused at the ports, more lorries stacked on our motorways and more “damage to the UK economy”.
The FTA also wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to do more to resolve the crisis, after it emerged a migrant had suffered fatal injuries today, while trying to board a Eurotunnel freight train bound for Britain.
‘Damage to the UK economy’
Last week lorry drivers and others helped truckers who were stranded on the motorway by delivering water, soft drinks and dried food. Scores of portable toilets were also installed along the M20 but queuing drivers on the continent were reportedly offered no such relief.
“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,” said Hookham.
“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.”
During last week’s four-day strike by MyFerryLink workers, burning tyres were thrown on the Eurotunnel tracks and 30 miles of lorries stacked on the M20 in Kent.