Brexit Foretaste on Display as French Customs Staff Work to Rule

(Bloomberg) -- French customs workers showed on Monday what a post-Brexit world might look like by working to rule, sparking traffic jams around the port of Calais.

Trucks were caught in a line several kilometers long on the road leading to the French side of the Channel Tunnel as customs officials applied strict rules and conducted more thorough searches, AFP reported.

“If the U.K. becomes a third country, there will be deeper checks,” Philippe Bollengier of the CGT union told AFP. “Today, you have the full demonstration of what will happen.”

The work-to-rule at the French border comes even as authorities work on limiting the disruption from Brexit by recruiting an additional 580 customs and sanitary staff by March 29, which is the deadline for the U.K. to exit the European Union.

Unions say that effort will be insufficient. They are demanding better pay for risky work and night shifts, as well as more hiring to prepare for Brexit.

About 60 percent of all goods and people moving between the U.K. and the EU go through French harbors and the Channel Tunnel terminal.

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