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Travellers warned to expect disruption as Border Force strikes coincide with French walkouts

Travellers warned to expect disruption as Border Force strikes coincide with French walkouts

The Home Office has warned travellers arriving into the UK on 15 March to expect disruption as a result of Border Force strikes and French protests and walkouts.

In a statement released by the government, passengers travelling on Wednesday and the early hours of Thursday are advised to “be prepared to face longer wait times at UK border control and check with their operator before they travel.”

It adds: “The UK government has undertaken extensive planning to minimise disruption, reduce queues and keep our border safe ahead of Border Force strike action.

“Border Force has been working closely with port operators and carriers to ensure we have robust plans in place to minimise any delays to travellers and goods entering the UK if strike action goes ahead.”

The update comes on the eve of industrial action by Border Force workers represented by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.

It marks the latest in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay, jobs, pensions and conditions across the civil service.

Border Force staff are unhappy with the 2 per cent pay rise offered amid the cost of living crisis.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said his members “cannot afford” to wait for next year for a raise.

“Many civil servants are already having to choose between heating and eating, having to claim the benefits they themselves have to administer and they are having to go to food banks”, he said, adding that ministers should be “ashamed” of how they treat their workforce.

Several unions in France have also called for industrial action and protests on 15 March.

The country has witnessed a series of nationwide strikes in response to changes proposed by President Emmanuel Macron that would raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.

Steve Dann, Border Force chief operating officer, said: “It is disappointing that yet again strike action may cause disruption to travellers entering the UK.

“Border Force’s number one priority to is [sic] keep our citizens safe and borders secure. We are working closely with port operators and partners across the travel industry to meet critical demand and support the flow of passengers and goods through our border

“During this period of industrial action, travellers should be prepared for disruption.”

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