Now Reading
Border Guards Plan Christmas and New Year’s Strike Action At Heathrow and Other Airports in Britain’s ‘Winter of Discontent’

Border Guards Plan Christmas and New Year’s Strike Action At Heathrow and Other Airports in Britain’s ‘Winter of Discontent’

a group of people in a line

Border Force officials at Heathrow, Gatwick and other UK airports have announced eight days of strike action over the busy Christmas and New Year travel period in an escalating row over pay, conditions and job security.

Announcing what is expected to be highly disruptive strike action, general secretary of the PCS union Mark Serwotkahe said, “the government can stop these strikes tomorrow if it puts money on the table. 

If more money isn’t forthcoming, the union plans to stage two walkouts lasting four days each. The first walkout would begin on December 23 and run through to the end of December 26. The second walkout would start on December 28 and last through to the end of New Year’s Eve.

As well as Heathrow and Gatwick, border officials would also stage strike action at Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports.

Flights leaving the UK won’t be directly impacted as immigration checks for departing passengers are largely automated, but there could be a knock-on effect as airports grind to a halt as arriving passengers back up.

In the worst-case scenario, arriving passengers could be held on planes for hours while backlogs are dealt with in airport terminal buildings.

A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said the airline intended to operate its scheduled service throughout the strike period but noted that contingency planning with government and airports was ongoing.

“Our customers’ journeys over the festive period are our priority and we’re focussed on supporting their travel plans, keeping them updated on any potential disruption at the border,” the airline said in an emailed statement.

The British government intends to call in the armed forces to help at the border and senior Border Force managers have been actively training the army in recent weeks on how to process passengers at the border.

Serwotka said his members voted in favour of strike action because they are “desperate” and struggling with Britain’s cost-of-living crisis which has plunged the country into a winter of discontent with workers up and down the country lining up to go on strike.

“They (Border Guards) are being told there is no money for them while they watch ministers giving out government contracts worth billions of pounds to their mates,” Serwotka said.

Heathrow did not immediately comment on what measures it was taking to reduce the risk of travel chaos at the airport over the Christmas period.

View Comment (1)
  • They had to pick the worst time possible to launch a strike. They apparently want to use millions of innocent Christmas travelers as hostages to get more money for themselves. They don’t care that they will be disrupting millions of travelers who want to get together with their loved ones. They could have done the strike in January, but I guess they want to hurt as many innocent travellers as possible. People who knowingly and deliberately hurt innocent people are scum in my opinion. I’m not against strikes, but do it in January!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.