France: ferry workers agree to return to jobs after three-weeks strike

Workers at a state-run ferry company linking France with the island of Corsica voted overwhelmingly Thursday to end a strike that brought traffic to a standstill for more than three weeks.

A total of 519 sailors, dock workers and other personnel among the 592 staffers at ferry operator SNCM voted at an assembly meeting in the southeastern city of Marseille to return to their jobs.

Labor leaders held the vote after workers learned late Wednesday that the state-run company was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy if ferry traffic did not resume.

The strike erupted over France's plans to lower its stake in the struggling ferry operator, setting off strikes at airports, ports and elsewhere, the AP reports.

The French government promised Thursday to push through with the planned sell-off. The government will orchestrate a rescue package under which the state will inject Ђ113 million (US$135 million) in aid and cut its interest in the company to 25 percent, Economy Minister Thierry Breton said. A.M.

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