French Customs Officers Get Brexit Pay Increase After Protests
(Bloomberg) -- It’s near impossible to guess the outcome of Brexit, let alone its cost -- unless you’re a striking French customs officer. In that case, you’re about to get a pay rise.
The finance ministry said Tuesday it is putting 14 million euros ($16 million) on the table to boost salaries after a week of industrial action. In a taste of what might be to come in a post-Brexit world, customs officers worked to rule in recent days, sparking traffic jams, delays and cancellations of passenger trains.
The swift response from the French government, which is otherwise preoccupied with cutting spending, underscores the risks of a crisis at the sea border with the U.K. About 60 percent of all goods and people moving between the U.K. and the EU go through French harbors and the Channel Tunnel.
Even before the offer of pay rises, Paris had taken “unprecedented” measures to prepare for a Brexit scenario, including hiring an extra 700 customs staff, said Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin.
Unions, who have demanded more hiring and better pay for risky work and night shifts, will respond within 24 hours. The salary increases would be entirely financed by cost savings within the budget ministry, which includes French customs.
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