French customs strike hamper Paris-London train service 

French customs strike hamper Paris-London train service

PHOTO CREDIT: The Independent

Eurostar trains from Paris to London were on Sunday affected by cancellations and severe delays as French customs officers staged work-to-rule industrial action.

The customs officers are demanding higher pay and better working conditions while seeking to demonstrate what might happen if full border controls are put in place once Britain leaves the European Union.

Eurostar confirmed on its website on Sunday that Paris-to-London trains were “experiencing severe delays and lengthy queues”. 

“We strongly recommend that you do not travel today,” it advised its customers. 

Four trains had been cancelled by lunchtime on Sunday, with another three on Monday and one on Tuesday.

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Sunday’s work-to-rule was the latest in a string of strike actions by the French customs officers.

Work-to-rule strikes began in early March, in the Channel ports of Dunkirk and Calais, northern France, leading to long delays for trucks waiting to cross to Britain.

The customs workers want better pay but also more staff to cope with British travellers who will no longer have European passports once the UK leaves the European Union.

Brexit is due to happen on March 29 but looks increasingly likely to be delayed as the British parliament is yet to agree on an exit plan.

On Wednesday, French unions representing the around 17,000 customs workers rejected a government offer of a 14 million euro ($15.8 million) payroll boost, saying it was insufficient.  

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