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Eurotunnel services between France, Britain resume after strike

Eurotunnel services were getting back to normal Friday, 24 hours after a flash strike over pay by French employees crippled disrupted Eurostar and drive-on train services between France and Britain in the run-up to Christmas. File photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI
Eurotunnel services were getting back to normal Friday, 24 hours after a flash strike over pay by French employees crippled disrupted Eurostar and drive-on train services between France and Britain in the run-up to Christmas. File photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Eurotunnel said services were getting back to normal Friday, 24 hours after a flash strike over pay by French employees crippled a vital undersea rail link between France and Britain.

LeShuttle drive-on trains from Calais to Folkestone resumed late Thursday but all Eurostar passenger trains from Paris to London and Brussels to London remain canceled in both directions. However, normal services would restart later Friday, the company said.

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Getlink, the company that operates Eurotunnel said it had reached a settlement with unions and apologized.

"Eurotunnel welcomes this agreement and reiterates its apologies to all LeShuttle customers as well as Eurostar passengers and rail freight operators whose traffic has been impacted by this strike," it said in a statement.

The company pledged to concentrate on transporting customers with tickets they were unable to use due to the industrial action, or refunding them, and that no new tickets would be available for purchase until Saturday.

Eurostar promised two additional trains a day through Dec. 25 to deal with the backlog of passengers stranded due to the disruption. Alternatively, ticket holders could get a refund.

French transport minister Clement Beaune welcomed what he called "the lifting of the blockade of the Channel Tunnel."

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"Traffic can resume on the Eurostar and Getlink. I salute the spirit of responsibility of all those involved."

The walkout by Eurotunnel staff four days before Christmas coincided with Storm Pia, which swept Britain on Thursday packing 80 mph winds, blowing down trees across roads and rail lines and disrupting channel ferry crossings and flights.

The strike even affected the company's websites which were inaccessible for much of Thursday, forcing LeShuttle to communicate via social media.

"Due to French industrial action our LeShuttle service is suspended. Customers are advised that, as a consequence of this incident, access to our site is currently unavailable," LeShuttle wrote Thursday afternoon in a post on X.

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