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26 Jan, 2008 10:58

Customs strike halts traffic at Polish border

Hundreds of lorries are backed up along Poland's eastern border because of a strike by customs officials. The checkpoints are virtually unmanned after border guards went on holiday or went sick in a protest against low wages and bad working conditions.

Around a thousand vehicles have been stranded for days in lengthening jams at Russia's, Belarus's and Ukraine's borders with Poland.

Poland was one of nine EU states to join the bloc's free-border Schengen zone in December.

Customs procedures were tightened along its eastern borders with non-EU states.

Ministers in Warsaw are holding talks with the striking staff over their demands.