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Eurostar latest: Man charged over London protest as Paris disruption continues

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Eurostar latest: Man charged over London protest as Paris disruption continues
Eurostar services in and out of London were halted on Saturday. Photo: AFP
09:27 CEST+02:00
A man has been charged over the protest that halted Eurostar services for most of Saturday morning, leaving hundreds stranded.

Eurostar services in and out of London St Pancras were completely halted on Saturday morning when a man carrying an England flag climbed onto the station roof.

Terry Maher, 44, of Cubitt Street in Camden, north London, has been charged with obstructing the railway and causing a public nuisance and will appear before magistrates on Monday.

READ ALSO What should I do if I'm planning to travel on the Eurostar?

 


Gare du Nord has been the scene of long queues since March 4. Photo: The Local

Meanwhile at the Paris end of the line, the French customs protest is continuing and Eurostar is advising against all but essential travel until at least April 3.

Eurostar has cancelled three services on Monday - the 07:04  from Paris to London St Pancras, the 08:37  from Paris to London St Pancras and the 21:03  from Paris Nord to London St Pancras.

A further two services are cancelled on Tuesday - the 07:37  from Paris to London St Pancras and the 21:03  from Paris to Ebbsfleet / London St Pancras - and two on Wednesday - the 07:37  from Paris to London St Pancras and the 21:03  from Paris to Ebbsfleet / London St Pancras.

Eurostar told passengers on Monday: "Due to industrial action by French customs, you may experience queues at Paris Gare du Nord station and we expect this to continue until April 3rd."

Travel from Paris has been badly disrupted by a work-to-rule protest from French customs officers, which began on March 4th.

The protest was originally scheduled to continue until March 20th. However unions extended it, and now say there is no end date in sight.

READ ALSO: What's the French customs protest all about?

"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.

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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