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Eurostar warns of cancellations and delays due to December strikes in France

Eurostar passengers are being warned of severe disruption and cancellations due to strike action in France in December.

Eurostar warns of cancellations and delays due to December strikes in France
A total of 25 trains have been cancelled over two days. Photo: AFP

Starting from December 5th, French transport unions will be engaged in an ongoing and 'unlimited' strike as they battle against plans to reform the French pension system.

The striking workers include signallers, so all trains travelling through France will face disruption, which includes the Eurostar services between London and Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.

READ ALSO Unlimited strikes in France in December – what you need to know

Eurostar says: “The strike action will impact our ability to deliver the usual timetable as we expect disruption to signalling along all routes. As a result, we will now run a reduced timetable on December 5th and 6th.”

A total of 25 trains have already been cancelled on December 5th and December 6th and the company is not selling any new tickets between December 5th and 8th.

Anyone booked on a cancelled train is entitled to a full refund or to exchange their tickets and anyone booked on any Eurostar service between December 5th and 8th is entitled to an exchange. Find out more here.

Exactly how long the strike action will last is hard to say, with some unions just opting for a one-day strike on December 5th and others serving notices of 'unlimited' or 'renewable' strikes.
 
One rail union has said their members “expect to be eating Christmas cake together” – ie still be on strike at Christmas – while political analysts have predicted that the dispute could last until the New Year.
 

The disruption is also expected to affect the international routes between France and Switzerland – run by Lyria – and France and Belgium – run by Thalys.

Lyria says that its services are likely to be very disrupted and is advising people not to travel. Full refunds can be obtained – even on non-refundable tickets – between December 5th and December 11th. For more information click here. Full strike timetables will be published on December 3rd.

Thalys, which operates services between France, Belgium and the Netherlands, has so far not published strike information, but during previous SNCF strikes their services have been affected.

Eurotunnel and cross-Channel ferry services have so far not been affected.

Anyone who does make it to Paris is reminded that the city's public transport network will also be badly affected by strike action, with Metro, bus and RER suburban trains either not running at all or offering reduced services.

On the plus side, Paris is a lovely city for a walk.

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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