After almost a month of travel chaos at Paris' Gare du Nord station, Eurostar on Thursday warned that industrial action was likely to continue until early April.
The company said on its website: “Due to industrial action by French customs, we are experiencing lengthy queues at Paris Gare du Nord station and expect this to continue until April 3rd. We strongly recommend that you do not travel during this period unless necessary.”
Hello there; as the industrial action French customs is still ongoing we are expecting long queues in Paris. As a result we're advising passengers not to travel from Paris unless necessary. If travel is essential we advise arriving at the station 45 to 60 minutes before departure
— Eurostar (@Eurostar) March 28, 2019
The operator is offering free refunds or ticket changes during this time.
Gare du Nord's statin mqnqger Lawrence tweeted on Thursday morning that the disruption was easing.
He said: “Situation seems to have eased (for now). Minimal queue times, around 15-30min.
“We are doing our best to limit any delays today.”
Eurostar cancelled two trains out of Paris on Thursday – the 08:37 and 21:03. Various trains have also been cancelled over the coming days. You can see if you are affected by clicking HERE.
The work-to-rule protest by French customs unions has been ongoing since March 4, and union leaders told The Local this week that there was 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,' Vincent Thomazo from the UNSA union told The Local.
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.