Heathrow Airport to experience increased strikes by Border Force over half term period

Border Force staff at Heathrow Airport have announced further strike action during the upcoming half term period. The strikes will take place on 31 May and 1 and 2 June, followed by three weeks of action short of a strike from 4 until 25 June. More than 500 members of the PCS (public and commercial services) union will participate in the strike, which stems from a dispute over a new staff roster.

According to the PCS, the strike is expected to cause disruptions to passport checks for travelers arriving in the UK at the airport. The affected staff, who work in terminals 2, 3, 4, and 5, had previously held four days of strike action last month. The union has stated that it had reached out to the Home Office after the previous strike, highlighting various issues with the new roster system.

Fran Heathcote, the general secretary of the PCS, stated, “We are eager to resolve this dispute, but the Home Office must first present something for our members to consider. The Home Office has stated that it is ‘open to discuss’ a resolution, but it only responded to our request for a meeting after we threatened further action. Until concrete changes are made to the roster that will benefit our members, the dispute will continue.”

A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport has stated that they will be working with the Home Office to develop contingency plans in order to minimize disruptions for passengers. She added that past strikes have been handled efficiently and managed successfully.

In response to the strike announcement, a Home Office spokeswoman expressed disappointment and stated, “We remain open to discussing a resolution with the PCS union. The changes we are implementing will align the working arrangements for Border Force Heathrow staff with those at other major ports, provide them with more stability in their working patterns, and enhance the service for the traveling public. While we have plans in place to mitigate disruptions, we urge passengers to check the latest advice from operators before traveling.”

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