Eurostar LATEST: No end date in sight for French customs protest

Eurostar LATEST: No end date in sight for French customs protest
Passengers queuing at Gare du Nord. Photo: The Local
French customs union has insisted it will be continuing with the work-to-rule protest that has brought chaos to Paris' Eurostar terminal.

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Eurostar again warned passengers on Tuesday not to travel from Paris unless absolutely necessary amid more long queues at Gare du Nord.

The work-to-rule protest by French customs staff began on March 4th and was originally scheduled to continue until March 20th. However unions extended the protest, and now say there is no end date in sight.

“We have no information on when it will end and we haven't heard what we need to hear from the government. We want it to end because it's tiring for us too but we can't give up until our demands have been met,' said Vincent Thomazo from the UNSA union.


'This is France': How passengers in Paris feel about Eurostar travel chaosPhoto: AFP

Eurostar said on Friday that the strike had been suspended, but later admitted that was a “misunderstanding”.

On Tuesday the company referred to industrial action until March 27th, but the union insists that there is no end date in sight.

“Eurostar don't know anything because we don't know anything,” added Vincent Thomazo.

Eurostar's official advice to passengers on Tuesday was not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

The company said: “Due to industrial action, we are experiencing very long queues in Paris Gare du Nord and some delays on trains from this station. We would advise not to travel from Paris unless necessary and it will be possible to change the date of your journey free of charge or claim a refund.”

Customs officials are trying to press demands for higher pay and demonstrate what will happen if greater controls are put in place once Britain leaves the European Union, currently planned for later this month.

Instead of going on strike – meaning they would not work at all – the customs officers have been carrying out work-to-rule industrial action which means that they only do what is required by the rules of their contract. 

This means that they precisely follow all safety or other regulations, which has means lots of checks and questions which has slowed down the flow of passengers through terminals at Eurostar, Eurotunnel and the ports in Calais.

The customs agents are demanding an increase in overnight pay, a danger allowance, and more staff and resources to help with greater controls that will be put in place once Britain breaks away from the European Union.

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