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Up to 7,000 Public and Commercial Services union members on strike in kent

The Channel Tunnel from above
The Channel Tunnel from above

by Katie Lamborn

Around 6,500 civil servants in Kent have walked out today over plans to reduce redundancy payouts.

The action is set to affect the UK Border Agency at the county's crossing points as well as job centres, benefit offices, courts and tax centres.

The Port of Dover said today it was "business as usual" despite industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union.

Sally Richard, regional chair of the PCS Union

The nationwide walkout by 270,000 members is the biggest outbreak of industrial unrest in the service since 1987.

The union says members could lose up to to a third of their potential redundancy payments.

Nigel Buller, a union official who is picketing with customs officers at the Channel Tunnel, said: "Passengers won't probably be affected, they may just see a lack of control at the border.

"It's a great shame because we are professional people who take great pride in what we do but we have been forced into this situation by the government."

Sally Richards, Regional Chair for the PCS union in the South East, has been picketing at Ramgate job centre this morning.

She said: "Anybody who's expecting their benefit to be paid today don't worry because your payment has gone out automatically.

"You shouldn't be affected by the strikes."

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