Longest customs dispute in France since 2002 over

Two-and-a-half-month strike, that caused long delays at popular French travel hubs, ends after government and unions agree deal

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Customs officers have called off their two-and-a-half-month dispute, their longest since 2002, after the government and unions reached an agreement on improved pay and working conditions.

Officers' first work-to-rule, in March, caused long delays at popular travel hubs including Gare du Nord, and popular ski resort airports in southeast France. The protest caused huge lorry queues at Eurotunnel and ferry ports in Dunkirk and Calais.

Passengers have reported delays of up to six hours before being able to board trains while the government and unions were unable to reach an agreement.

A deal has now been reached to bring an end to the dispute, after unions and the government agreed a €50-a-month net pay increase for 17,000 officers from November, rising to €65 per month by mid-2021. Night-shift pay will also increase as part of the deal.

The pay rise will cost the government €17million a year when it is fully implemented - more than the €14million a year an earlier rejected offer would have cost.

Two and a half months after the first strict customs controls caused long queues, trade unions obtained a net increase of 50 euros per month for the approximately 17,000 customs officers from November onwards. It will be gradually increased to around €65 by mid-2021, says Public Accounts Minister Gérald Darmanin in a press release.

The money will be financed by planned cuts elsewhere in customs services.

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