Home Office denies that strikes by Border Force staff in Calais, Dunkirk, Dover and Coquelles are impacting wait times.
Upon returning to the UK from half-term school trips, children and teachers have been enduring delays of more than six hours at Calais during strike action by Border Force staff.
Whilst the government has rejected suggestions that industrial action was causing the long wait times, P&O told customers the delays were “due to the queues at border control who are also on strike”.
Strikes began on Friday 17th February and continued on until Monday 20th February for members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working in Calais, Dunkirk, Dover and the Coquelles Channel tunnel terminal.
Many schools have reported delays when returning from trips during February half-term. According to parents on social media, their children had been waiting at Calais for hours, some waiting to board a ferry at 8:30am and still waiting by the afternoon.
In an extreme case, teachers and students from Surrey coming home from a ski trip waited for six and a half hours to board a ferry back to the UK.
DFDS Ferries said the six-hour delays at Calais for coach passengers were due to “high volumes of traffic”.
The Public and Commercial Services union is calling for a 10% pay rise, better pensions, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms. They say that strikes will continue until this happens. The government says it is in "regular discussion with unions and staff" but denies that strikes are causing delays.
The Home Office said: “Border Force and port operators are working hard to ensure all travellers have a safe and secure journey, however we have been clear those entering the UK should expect disruption during strike action.”