UK Border Staff Could Go On Holiday Strike
Flying during Christmas can be a pretty chaotic experience.
However, this festive season, things could get even worse as the ISU, the union representing 3,500 UK Border Force staff employed by the Home Office as well as customs officers, is threatening industrial action in support of an 8% pay claim which could lead to lengthy queues at airports and ports during peak season.
The union has rejected the Home Office’s 3 percent offer but has made it clear that it will not take any action that would jeopardise national security. This means that checks will continue at UK borders but they might take longer, leading to queues, and may require the deployment of police and military staff.
Mark Gribbin, the ISU’s general secretary, said the union was considering a ‘longer period’ of industrial action over the Christmas and New Year period when millions of people travel to visit relatives and friends. He said the strikes would also be targeted at Channel immigration offices and border ports, which are key to the importation of goods and food supplies at Christmas.
Places Where Strike Has Most Impact
There are 140 ports and airports in the UK and ISU staff work at all of them.
Larger airports like Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester are likely to be worst impacted.
Heathrow needs to recruit and train up to 25,000 security-cleared staff before the festive period, a task the airport has described as “a huge logistical challenge”.
“We are supporting, including establishing a recruitment taskforce to help fill vacancies, working closely with the government on a review of airline ground handling and appointing a senior operational executive to invest in joint working,”Heathrow Arport spokesperson
At Manchester Airport, 200 new security staff are set to start jobs by the beginning of April 2023.
Popular travel ports could also be impacted. In July, passengers at the Port of Dover experienced six-hour delays due to security staff shortages.
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