Holidaymakers planning a halfterm trip are being warned to expect disruption for anyone arriving in the UK. Border Force is planning strike action between February 17 to 20.
The army and other groups will step in to fill the gap, according to the Government, but it is warning disruption is still likely. According to the Government "extensive planning" has been set in place to minimise problems.
This includes training military personnel, civil servants and volunteers from across government to step in and keep the border safe. The Home Office said in a statement: "Since strikes were announced by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, hundreds of people from across government and the military have been trained to carry out essential checks at the border. They will be present at airports and ports across the UK, not only at the locations directly impacted by strikes.
"Border Force has been working closely with port operators, carriers and French counterparts to understand the impact of strike action, to minimise delays for travellers and ensure the flow of goods through the border.
"Although this strike action directly targets inbound travel to the UK from the French ports of Calais, Dunkirk and the Coquelles Channel Tunnel Terminal, as well as to the Port of Dover, all those who are due to travel into any UK port during the proposed strike action should be prepared to face longer wait times at UK border control and check with their operator before they travel.
Steve Dann Border Force Chief Operating Officer said: "It is disappointing for travellers that yet again strike action may cause disruption for those entering the UK. Border Force’s number one priority to is keep our citizens safe and borders secure.
"We are working together with partners across the travel industry and our French counterparts to ensure we can continue to meet critical demand and support the flow of passengers and goods through our border. During the periods of industrial action, travellers should be prepared for disruption. We encourage everyone to check the latest advice from operators before travelling."
Five tips for people travelling during strike action
1. When travelling into the UK, please prepare yourself and your family for longer wait times at border control.
2. Use eGates where available as the quickest and most efficient way to pass through border control.
3. Always check with your operator before you travel and follow their advice on when to arrive at the port / terminal.
4. Be kind and patient with Border Force staff, who are working hard over this challenging period to support passengers and ensure you get to where you want to be.
5. Be reassured that we have additional resource to support travellers and Border Force’s number one priority is to keep our border safe and secure for all passengers.
Border Force strike dates
- 17 February
- 18 February
- 19 February
- 20 February (until circa 7am)
Border Force strike locations (affecting international inbound travel to the UK only)
- Port of Calais
- Port of Dunkirk
- Coquelles Channel Tunnel Terminal
- Port of Dover