The union representing border guards plans to go on a 24-hour strike on July 26, just one day before the opening ceremonies. And the union plans further job disruptions throughout the Games.
The move by the Public and Commercial Services union, or PCS, which represents nearly 16,000 border officials, passport control officers and criminal records, has infuriated the government which has called it “shameful”.
But union officials aren’t making any apologies, arguing they have been trying to sort out issues over pensions and job cuts for months.
“The lives of staff have been made intolerable by these cuts and they’re at breaking point,” PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said in a statement Thursday. “Ministers have known about these issues for a very long time and need to act now to sort out the chaos they have caused. They’re acting recklessly in cutting so many jobs and privatising services, and are provocatively refusing to talk to us with a genuine desire to reach an agreement.”
London’s Heathrow is already one of the busiest in the world and it has been handling even more traffic as a result of the Games. Line up at immigration and customs have already taken several hours at times.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, made no apologies for striking during the Olympics. The union has already held strikes in May and last Fall over similar issues.