UK

Christmas travel hit again by strikes as Border Force set for airport walk outs

Border Force workers across UK airports and ports will take strike action on key dates in December as its union calls for the government to come back to the negotiating table.

Strikes will take place between 23rd and 26th December, and from 28th to 31st December, impacting Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow and Manchester airports, as well as the Port of Newhaven.

And the officers taking the action will be those responsible for doing passport checks for people arriving in the country.

It comes amid a raft of strikes set to hit festive travel, with trains, bus and road strikes all announced for the run up to Christmas.

The Public and Commercial Services union said they were taking the action due to rows over pay, pensions and conditions they are due to strike throughout Christmas in a row over pay, the threat of job cuts and pension rules.

General secretary of the union, Mark Serwotka, said 40,000 of its members were having to use food banks, while 45,000 were claiming in work benefits.

“This is a crisis,” he added. “We have tried for months to negotiate with the government and we have been ignored.

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“We keep being told the government has an open door, but there is no point the door being open if there is nothing behind that door.

“The public sector have no option other than to take industrial action because our members currently are skipping meals, not being able to put the heating on at home because of the poverty they are living in.”

The PCS union said 86% of its 100,000 members across 124 government departments and public sector employers voted in favour of strike action.

A number of pickets had already been announced, including driving instructors and highways officials.

But as well as the addition of the Border Force strikes, the union said it would “escalate in the new year if this action doesn’t get the government to sit around the negotiating table” – claiming there are further workers in immigration and the Port of Dover willing to go out.

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