Troops training at Heathrow and Gatwick airports ahead of Border Force strikes over Christmas
Troops have been training at Heathrow and Gatwick airports ahead of Border Force staff going on strike over Christmas, the Ministry of Defence confirmed to ITV News Meridian.Earlier this week, the Public and Commercial Services union announced its members working at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports will strike for eight days from December 23 to New Year’s Eve.The union has already announced strikes at the Department for Work and Pensions, National Highways and among driving examiners.Around 1,000 Border Force workers will strike on December 23-26, 28-30 and 31 over pay, pensions and jobs.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the staff work at passport control so the strike will have a “significant impact”.He warned the Government against bringing in the military to cover for the strikes, saying there was not enough time to train them properly.Mr Serwotka has met Government ministers but he said they were refusing to increase a 2% pay rise.“They keep saying their door is open, but it is a very strange door because there’s nothing behind it.”
He warned that the PCS will escalate industrial action in the new year unless the deadlock is broken.
A Home Office Spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed with the union’s decision to strike and the significant inconvenience this will cause to travellers over the Christmas period.
“We continue to work closely with all UK ports to assess the impacts of this announcement. Whilst we have robust plans in place to minimise any delays, passengers should be prepared for disruption and take action to plan ahead.
“Those intending to travel into the UK over strike days should keep up-to-date with the latest advice from operators to check how the proposed strike action will affect their journey.”