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French truck drivers cause tail backs nationwide in wage protest

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A blockade in Carquefou near Nantes on Monday Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Hundreds of lorries blocked roads across France on Monday, as part of a truck-drivers’ campaign for pay rises. Although Eurostar traffic through the Channel tunnel was set to return to normal, a fire interrupted services in the middle of the day.


Traffic was seriously disrupted at Bordeaux, Nantes and Rennes in the west and at the Channel port of Caen, where about 600 lorries were staging snail-pace protests on major roads.

Unions claimed that lore drivers were joining the movement around Marseille, where a 14-kilometre traffic jam was reported on the road between the city and nearby Aix-en-Provence.

Interactive map of France

In the Paris region drivers descended on a major river port at Gennevilliers, through which almost all of the Ile-de-France’s petrol passes, according to union leaders.

Unions and bosses were due to meet on Tuesday with employers set to offer one or two per cent rise on the basic wage, while strikers are demanding five per cent.

The Eurostar service through the Channel tunnel was set to return to normal Monday after a weekend of cancelled and late trains.

But trains out of Paris’s Gare du Nord, including Eurostar, national and regional services, were stopped from midday to 1.45pm because of a fire in a car sales room near the track just outside the city.

A bus drivers’ strike industrial action in Marseille ended on Monday, management announced.

The drivers had been stopping work during rush hour in protest at some of their number being forced to take their summer holidays in May.

The company promised to apply the change to as few drivers as possible.