Competition needed for ferries – MP
A CITY MP is calling for more ferry competition in the wake of strike action which left hundreds of passengers stranded.
Oliver Colvile, the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said Brittany Ferries should face competition on routes out of Plymouth.
He is writing to Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, asking for greater competition on the Plymouth-Santander and Plymouth-Roscoff routes operated by the company.
Brittany Ferries resumed crossings earlier this month after ten days of suspended services.
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A series of wildcat strikes broke out during September as French crews protested over planned company cutbacks.
They and union chiefs are angry about moves by Brittany Ferries bosses that would slash their working hours and affect staff benefits.
At one stage Brittany Ferries was forced to tie up its entire fleet as a result of the strike, leaving hundreds of city-bounds passengers in France.
The ferry company estimates around 34,000 passengers were affected by the strike action, which cost loss-making Brittany Ferries millions of pounds.
Tory MP Mr Colvile said: I think competition would improve industrial relations.
"You wouldn't have on operator with a monopoly. Also, in future strikes passengers would have an alternative way to get back to Britain."
Mr Colvile said competition would benefit passengers by driving down costs and improving the service.
Brittany Ferries group managing director Martine Jourdren said after the strike was over: "The company has worked hard to negotiate an agreement with the unions which achieves the cost savings and productivity improvements that we were seeking, as well as removing the prospect of any further strike action.
"We know that we have to work hard to regain the confidence of many of our customers, but equally I am very gratified by the huge number of appreciative messages that we have received from those who have been impressed by our attempts to look after them."