Fill up before you travel to France warn operators as fuel strike threatens bank holiday getaway headaches

08:54 27 May 2016

Fill Up Before You Travel To France Warn Operators As Fuel Strike Threatens Bank Holiday Getaway Headaches

A demonstrator burns flares and shouts slogans during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, on a day of nationwide strikes and protests (AP Photo/Franck Pennant)

Fuel shortages causing problems for those travelling through France

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Fill Up Before You Travel To France Warn Operators As Fuel Strike Threatens Bank Holiday Getaway HeadachesA poster reads “Fuel Shortage” in a closed gas station (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Motorists preparing to make a trip to France over the bank holiday weekend are being urged to fill up with petrol or diesel before they cross the Channel after strike action led to fuel shortages. UK breakdown recovery firms said a number of their customers have already become stranded after their tanks ran dry. The dispute over labour reforms has also led to blockades in towns, cities, on motorways and bridges, as well as disruption of the rail network.

Dozens of flights between the UK and France were cancelled as French air traffic controllers went on strike.

Fill Up Before You Travel To France Warn Operators As Fuel Strike Threatens Bank Holiday Getaway HeadachesUnion activists wearing masks of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, right, and French President Francois Hollande (AP Photo/Franck Pennant)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice to warn that restrictions on fuel purchases have been implemented in parts of the country. Many filling stations are either closed or have long queues for fuel. Roadside assistance company Green Flag reported a 14 per cent rise in UK customers reporting fuel-related breakdowns in France.

Green Flag spokeswoman Candace Gerlach said: With limited supplies of fuel available, those planning their trip to France will need to consider their journey carefully and think about fuel economy.

While there is some fuel available, the amount being distributed is being limited per driver. For those drivers that have a long journey ahead it s worth keeping to roads where there are plenty of fuel stations along the route. The RAC is advising drivers already on the continent and about to cross France not to attempt the journey unless they have enough fuel for the whole trip. The Freight Transport Association, based in Tunbridge Wells, has reported that UK lorry drivers are also struggling with the fuel shortage across the Channel.

Protests are taking place nationwide in opposition to proposals to reform labour laws, which include making the 35-hour working week more flexible and weakening the power of unions.

Fuel depots and refineries have been blocked, forcing the government to start using its strategic fuel reserves.

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