10 July 2014

North Africa: Ferry Company to Resume Corsica-Marseille Crossings After 17 Day Strike

The staff of the SNCM, the French company which operates ferries and cargo ships between Corsica, mainland France, and North Africa, voted on Thursday to end their 17 day strike.

In a deal reached with shareholders, insolvency proceedings are to be put on hold for the immediate future.

The company is in serious financial difficulties and in competition with another French company, La Méridionale and the Italian company Corsica Ferries.

The state, and the majority shareholder Transdev, favoured putting the company into receivership, as it is unable to pay the 400 million euro fine imposed by the European Commision for accepting state subsidies judged to be illegal.

The unions plan to appeal against the fines.

Under the deal agreed on Wednesday, SNCM will have time to try to find new shareholders.

On Thursday morning, SNCM trade union activists ended a week-long blockage on the ship Kalliste, owned by La Méridionale, which they had refused to allow to sail.

The 17 day strike had a significant impact on the economy, Corsica imports most of its food from mainland France and restaurants and hotels faced problems.

The strike angered some local business people, and there were violent incidents. The SNCM offices were wrecked on Wednesday and a ship was attacked.

The island's population triples in the summer and tourism is one of its most important economic activities.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday that the strike "called into question the very survival of the SNCM and the very survival of the Corsican economy". He threatened to take "measures" to end the blockage, provoking the anger of strikers.

SNCM crossings are due to resume on Thursday evening.

Copyright © 2014 Radio France Internationale. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.