In the last few weeks we have all witnessed how a small group of French workers have caused big trouble to Kent and UK economy.
Around one hundred MyFerryLink employees blockaded Calais terminal and burned tyres on the train tracks in protest at a potential 600 job losses.
Operation stack started on 23rd June and has been on and off since then crippling transport on M20 and causing nuisance to people travelling in Kent. The Port of Dover came practically to standstill.
Events of last month have brought serious financial consequences in terms of lost turnover to trading businesses who are waiting for their goods to be delivered. Haulage companies have had their trucks stranded instead of being on the road, and losing business too. The daily cost to UK economy was estimated at £250 million.
Of course there are alternate routes but they lack capacity that the Port of Dover can offer.
The CEO of the port of Dover has said: “Clearly we were not planing such an extreme strategy about how we can change perceptions and get across the importance of the Port to UK but nothing could have ever made the point better than turning off the tap that helps the UK’s trade to flow. Whilst still just trickling, the UK trade tap was turned off enough in Calais to show just how vital Dover is to our national prosperity”.
The port of Dover handles £100 billion of trade every year.
If Calais is shut or its operations are limited Dover cannot provide the essential service and operations for the UK and Europe.
The CEO of the port of Dover condemned strike in Calais saying: “How could you equate the importance of keeping such valuable trade moving with the incredible disruption caused at a major international gateway -Calais- by the mob rule of a small number of aggrieved militant Frenchmen? We certainly cannot. Unless supermarkets with empty shelves and assembly lines with vital parts missing are to become acceptable, then clearly under no circumstance should the recent situation be allowed to happen again”.
He also called upon the Government to “turn its focus away from the immediate implications of a £1 billion strike to ensuring a £100 billion trade rout can do its job 24/7; unimpeded by others for the long term.”