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Eurotunnel trains suspended after sudden strike by French staff

An unexpected French strike halted all Eurotunnel trains Thursday, creating holiday travel chaos between London and Paris. File Photo by Facundo Acundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE
An unexpected French strike halted all Eurotunnel trains Thursday, creating holiday travel chaos between London and Paris. File Photo by Facundo Acundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE

Dec. 21 (UPI) -- All Eurotunnel services were canceled Thursday, disrupting holiday travel, as French staff suddenly went on strike.

Rail company LeShuttle, which offers services between France and Britain said that its services were suspended due to "French industrial action"

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"Customers are advised that, as a consequence of this incident, access to our site is currently unavailable. If you are due to travel today please make alternative arrangements or modify your booking. Incidents of this nature are extremely rare and we're grateful for your patience."

At least 24 Eurostar trains, which provide services connecting Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands were canceled while four others were forced to return to their departing point once the strike started.

"Due to unexpected strike action by Eurotunnel staff, services are currently not able to proceed through the Channel Tunnel until mid-afternoon at earliest," the company said.

The staff walkout was over discretionary bonuses. The amounts offered were three times less than labor unions want.

There was no indication of how long the strike will last, but Eurotunnel said it is working to end the strike as soon as possible.

Holiday travelers between London and Paris described scenes of chaos on social media, with long lines of would-be passengers stuck in terminals.

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Chris Tirifahy-McCabe told the BBC he and his wife were planning to travel to Brussels.

"All Eurostar services have been suspended until further notice," he said. "There are around 500 people stuck past security waiting."

French Transport Minister Clement Beaune wrote on X that the blocking of the tunnel "is unacceptable."

"A solution must be found immediately," Beaune said.

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