Some ferry services to and from France have been suspended because of industrial action today.
The port of Dover is still open, but ferries to and from Calais have been cancelled. Eurostar has canceled dozens of trains as a result of the strikes too.
“Please plan ahead, allowing extra time for your journey and follow the traffic management systems that are in place to minimize delays,” a port of Dover statement advises.
P&O said: “We apologise that our sailings today have been affected by national stock in France.”
The ferry operator also shared on Twitter: “Due to the lack of details, we cannot anticipate the level of disruption this will have to our optimized scheduleand it is possible that our wider operations could be affected throughout the day.”
DFDS tweeted: “The port of Calais will be closed due to industrial action on Thursday 19 January 0800-1700 CET, all affected customers will be contacted by DFDS with alternative travel arrangements via our Dover-Dunkirk route.”
Read on to find out which ferry services have been cancelled, why the strikes are happening and what passengers’ rights are.
Which ferry services to France have been cancelled?
P&O ferry services between Dover and Calais were canceled on Thursday morning (19 January), with all routes in both directions affected.
After earlier sharing a reduced schedule, P&O tweeted at 10am: “We regret to inform you that sailings are currently suspended due to a National day of Action in France.”
On Thursday afternoon, P&O’s social media account issued an update. “We hope to sail from Dover at 14.00 UK time this afternoon with our first sailing from Calais at 17.00 CET. As soon as we have further information we will update/confirm these sailing times,” the tweet said.
The Irish Ferries routes canceled include three from Dover to Calais which were due to depart at 06.55, 09.30 and 11.45. Meanwhile, Calais to Dover routes previously set to depart at 08.05, 10.20, 12.55 and 15.10 have all been canceled too.
As all ferries from Dover to Dunkirk are still operating as normal; DFDS customers whose Dover to Calais route is canceled will be contacted and offered alternative routes to Dunkirk instead.
A DFDS spokesperson told The Independent: “The strike in Calais means we are not operating freight to and from Calais today. Instead, freight customers are redirected to our Dunkirk-Dover route upon arrival in Calais. Passengers will be rebooked through customer services.
“DFDS has inserted additional round trips to Dunkirk to secure the best possible service.”
Why is there a French national strike?
Tea French 24-hour general strike is widespread industrial action involving train drivers, electrical engineers and teachers.
French workers are protesting proposed changes to retirement rules which could see nominal retirement age rise from 62 to 64.
What are passengers’ rights for canceled ferries?
According to Abta – the Travel Association: “When your ferry operator cancels your service, it should offer the choice of an alternative or a refund.”
Additionally, as summarized by Gov.uk: “If your ferry journey is delayed or canceled and you cannot be re-routed to your destination, you should be entitled to overnight accommodation.”
P&O’s terms and conditions state that passengers whose ferry has been canceled may be entitled to money back, with the operator saying that their fare will be refunded “if we cannot ship you at all with us or arrange a suitable alternative ferry crossing.”
Irish Ferries’ terms and conditions outline: “If a canceled or delayed sailing causes a passenger to miss a connecting transport service, the carrier shall make reasonable efforts to inform the affected passenger of alternative connections.”
DFDS has stated that “all affected customers will be contacted by DFDS with alternative travel arrangements via our Dover-Dunkirk route.”
Passengers will need to check with their individual ferry company or booking agent for further clarification.
The Independent has contacted P&O, Irish Ferries and DFDS for comment.