Unexpected strike action by French unions at Eurostar results in wave of cancelled Christmas services


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Unexpected strike action by French unions at Eurostar results in wave of cancelled Christmas services
Unexpected strike action by French unions at Eurostar results in wave of cancelled Christmas services

Eurostar services from London have been cancelled this afternoon after an unexpected strike from Eurotunnel staff halted services through the Channel Tunnel.

In a statement, Eurostar said “no Channel Tunnel crossings have happend [sic] since 12pm today with all trains to and from London cancelled until 3:30pm UK time.”

No updates have as yet been provided on whether tomorrow’s services will run. At least 24 trains have been cancelled so far, with the action also hitting LeShuttle.

Eurostar’s website says the final services of the day from London St Pancras to Paris, at 7:01pm and 8:01pm, are still set to run.

The statement added: “Customers affected will receive direct communication about their journey and we recommend that travellers postpone their travel today if possible. We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and any further updates will be communicated as soon as possible.”

The channel tunnel’s infrastructure is operated and staffed by the French railway giant Getlink. In an emailed statement to the Reuters newswire, Getlink said: “Today’s call for strike action by representatives of Eurotunnel’s French site staff unions has resulted in the complete interruption of service and the closure of our terminals in France and the UK.”

The company added trade unions had rejected a bonus payment of £867 announced by management, demanding for it to be trebled.

An update on the Eurotunnel website said: “Due to industrial action in France, all Le Shuttle services have been temporarily suspended. We apologise for the delay to your journey. Further updates will be provided shortly.”

It comes at the height of the busy Christmas period. Trade body ABTA warned this morning that millions of Brits were set to depart for the holiday period amid a surge in travel this year.

Eurostar services are already facing major disruption. The high speed operator’s popular route from Amsterdam to London is set to shut for around six months next year due to works at the Dutch capital’s Centraal station.

Seperate chaos also erupted at Euston station today after all trains were cancelled due to a fault on the line. All lines are currently blocked through the area, with replacement buses running from Northampton to Milton Keynes, and Milton Keynes to Watford Junction.

Unverified X, formerly Twitter users, took to the platform to voice their frustration at the Eurostar disruption.

One claimed “there was no information at all for the passengers on board,” while another said they had been “held hostage” by Eurotunnel staff. “Made it all the way to the tunnel, only to be turned back to starting point. Hours and hours sitting on a train for nothing! Unacceptable and soul destroying!” They wrote.

Another asked: “I’m already on the train they’re sending us back to Paris, how can I change this ticket for tomorrow? What compensation will we have?”

Getlink netted €472.5m in revenue in the third quarter of 2023. The company has posted a string of record breaking results this year. [Eurostar]

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