There is a call for calm on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica where there have been protests and strikes over plans to privatise a ferry operator. The appeal comes from union leader Alain Mosconi who, along with three others, is accused by police of organising the seizure of a passenger ferry for 24 hours.
After his release on bail in Marseille, he said: “I call for calm over there now, so things can become a little more serene, with the aim of looking at the future a bit differently, the future of the public service and the ferry company.” The French government has been forced to rethink its privatisation of the loss-making SNCM company after mass protest. There is an impasse in talks with union leaders and officials are worried the crisis could deepen after a rocket attack on the French government’s headquarters on the island. While talks carry on, strikes at ports and airports in Corsica and Marseille continue to cause havoc for travellers. In a compromise to SNCM workers concerned about their jobs if the entire company is sold off, the French government has unveiled a plan to keep a 25 percent stake, while the workers hold on to five percent. France has won the promise of a quick European Union verdict on its rescue plan for the ferry company, but Paris has warned it can make no further concessions.