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Reader question: Does the UK border strike affect ferries, trains and the Channel Tunnel?

Coverage of a planned strike by British border force staff has focused on expected chaos at airports - but what about other methods of travel from France to the UK?

Reader question: Does the UK border strike affect ferries, trains and the Channel Tunnel?
Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP

Question: The news coverage of the planned strike over Christmas by UK border staff is all focused on airports – but won’t it also affect people travelling by ferry, train or on the Channel Tunnel?

The planned strike by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union is heavily focused on airports, with predictions of queues of up to 10 hours at the border, and flight cancellations.

Other transport methods are less affected, although the port of Newhaven is likely to be impacted as well.

Here’s what the PCS strike notice says: “PCS members employed by the Home Office on passport control will take action at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports on December 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st [December 27th is not included].

“Members will also strike at the port of Newhaven on the same dates.”

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about how strikes will affect France-UK travel this Christmas

This will affect arrivals on the ferry into the port of Newhaven – from where a ferry service runs to Dieppe in France.

Anyone who is booked on a Dieppe-Newhaven crossing around these dates should check with their operator for any changes.

According to the current strike notice, border force officials working at other British ports including Dover, Portsmouth and Plymouth will not take part in the strike action, nor will staff at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Folkestone.

British border officials also work in the French port of Calais and at the Eurostar terminal in Gare du Nord – they have so far not indicated that they will strike. However, anyone who is booked on the Eurostar should be aware that Eurostar’s UK security staff have filed a strike notice for over the Christmas period.

Christmas travel to France: What you need to know about strikes, services and prices

British border forces bosses had warned of a ‘nightmare’ at Channel ports, especially for trucker, in the run-up to the action, but the strike notice as filed on Wednesday concerns only airports and Newhaven ferry port.

However, the prospect of heavier-than-normal traffic as travellers find alternative routes to and from Europe could lead to further delays at ports and on tunnel services.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The government can stop these strikes tomorrow if it puts money on the table. 

“Like so many workers, our members are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. They are desperate. They are being told there is no money for them, while they watch ministers giving out government contracts worth billions of pounds to their mates.” 

As ever, things can change quickly with strike action, you can find all the latest in our strike section HERE.

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TRAVEL NEWS

France extends Covid tests for travellers from China

France on Saturday said it had extended until February 15th Covid tests for travellers arriving from China due to the "evolving situation".

France extends Covid tests for travellers from China

The tests had initially been decreed until January 31.

Since the start of this year, travellers aged over 11 and coming from China to France have had to present a negative test taken 48 hours before the flight to board the plane.

Random testing will be carried out and anyone testing positive will have to self-isolate, the French authorities said, adding that everyone above six years old would have to wear face masks on the plane.

Several countries had slapped fresh travel regulations on travellers from China after Beijing decided to relax strict virus restrictions.

China has said that the number of daily Covid-19 deaths has fallen by nearly 80 percent since the start of the month.

A wave of virus cases has washed over the world’s most populous nation since Beijing abruptly ended its zero-Covid policy last month.

Beijing’s figures are believed to only represent a fraction of the true toll, given China’s narrow definition of a Covid death and official estimates that swathes of the population have been infected.

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