Published: 10:30, 29 March 2021
| Updated: 10:36, 29 March 2021
Union bosses have urged the government to "step up" to save high-speed continental rail service Eurostar from collapse.
Eurostar chiefs are currently in emergency talks with its lenders as the deadline looms for it to pay back a £400million debt.
It has been dealt a devastating blow by the pandemic and the travel restrictions which have been introduced both in the UK and mainland Europe.
Over the last year, passenger numbers have fallen a staggering 95% while it is now operating just two services a day - one to Paris and one to Amsterdam.
Last year, it confirmed none of its services would stop off at either of Kent's international stations - Ashford and Ebbsfleet - until 2022.
But it now faces a fight for its survival as it nears a deadline to pay back £400m in June.
It had persuaded a number of its banks - among them Santander and France Agricole - to lend it millions of pounds.
Even a 12-month extension, which could be triggered as part of the original agreement, would mean the company facing strict financial covenants.
Efforts to persuade both the UK and French governments to offer financial support have so far come to nothing. The British government sold its 40% stake in the company to private investors in 2015.
And that prompted Mick Cash, the general secretary of the RMT union to call for it to act.
He said: "It is essential the government steps up and plays its part in creating a bridge to saving the Eurostar service.
"They need to work with their French and Belgian counterparts, along with the financiers, to save this essential link which is a viable and green operator registered in the UK and supporting over 3,000 British jobs."
It has previously warned of a "disastrous collapse" if Eurostar is not given financial aid.