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Published on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Extra security checks at Eurostar terminal cause second day of chaos

Eurostar is warning passengers not to travel from Paris today as a work to rule by French customs officers is causing a second day of chaos in the Gare du Nord terminal.

The train operator told passengers who do need to travel today to turn up at the gate on time or risk missing their train. "We would recommend not travelling unless necessary, it will be possible to change or refund your ticket below for free should you decide not to travel," it said.

Reports say queues at Paris Gare du Nord were already building up at 6am this morning as French custom officials are questioning all passengers after x-raying their luggage. By 10am, Eurostar said trains were already running up to two hours late.

One passenger told the London Evening Standard: "They [customs officials] are asking us where we live, what our jobs are, and whether we have any money or drugs on us.

"This never normally happens, and it's pretty intimidating. Once your luggage clears you are normally good to go.

"The customs officials are being extremely aggressive, and causing massive delays. They're treating everybody as it they're a problem."

Waits of up to two hours were reported yesterday, the start of a work to rule by five French trade unions, who are arguing that security staff need a pay rise to cope with more difficult checks after Brexit on March 29.

Eurostar said it wasn't sure how long the work to rule would last, although it is expected to continue for at least the rest of the day. Passengers are being advised to check the live departures and arrival information on its website.

David-Olivier Caron, of the French CFDT union, said: "Customs officers are strictly applying the rules and reinforcing controls."

Philippe Bollengier, from the CGT union, added: "There will be stronger controls. Today you have a demonstration of what is going to happen."

Separately, Eurostar has been forced to cancel several morning and rush-hour evening trains between London and Paris until March 27 for 'operational reasons'. Details of the cancellations are available on A spokeswoman said the cancellations were due to essential train maintenance.

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  • everything is down to money

    These customs officials are using Brexit as an excuse to ask for more money. If everybody asked for a payrise every time their working processes changed the whole world would be bankrupt. And what's the excuse for agression towards travellers ? Do the officials have anger management issues? This behaviour should be reprimanded.

    By claire williamson, Sunday, March 17, 2019

  • Nodding through

    What makes you think that 'nodding-through' can be just as easily done post-Brexit? There are legal requirements for checks at any exterior border of the EU just as there are in the UK at the moment for anyone or anything arriving from outside the EU. I haven't noticed HMRC 'nodding-through' pax arriving from, say, the USA. Nor from any other non-EU country, for that matter.

    By Peter Lewis, Thursday, March 7, 2019

  • This just goes to show...

    ...that simple action (or inaction) by a few disgruntled employees can cause far more disruption than Brexit. In the end it all comes down to just how bl**dy minded a few people in key positions want to be.. If travellers and goods can be nodded through whilst we are in the EU then they can be nodded through once we are out. Unless, of course, the boss of one of the unions involved decides to cause trouble. . Which, I suppose, shows just where the power is really held - and that is not in the -‰lys-©e Palace or No. 10 Downing Street.

    By Richard English, Thursday, March 7, 2019

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