New Border Force strike causes chaos as 1,000 workers walk out TODAY

Militant unions threaten fresh chaos with more Border Force strikes in the new year – but walkouts fail to cause an impact as passengers clear passport control in less than five minutes thanks to military support

  • About 1,000 members of the PCS Union have downed tools at six airports  
  • It comes ahead of a week of New Year misery, with five days of railway strikes 
  • Britain’s trains will grind to a halt with just one in five running from January 3 to 7 
  • Are you struggling to get home after Christmas? Email [email protected] 

A strike by Border Force officers seemed to be having little impact today, with many airport passengers going through passport control in less than five minutes. 

About 1,000 members of the PCS Union have downed tools at Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester airports in a bitter row over pay and pensions. 

Union chiefs have warned the walkouts could continue for months, stretching into May, when King Charles is crowned.  

But Heathrow today said its operations were ‘smooth’ and ‘free flowing’ thanks to military personnel who have stepped in for the strikers, while Gatwick said it did not expect any disruption but warned customers to prepare for queues. 


About 1,000 members of the PCS Union have downed tools at Heathrow , Birmingham , Cardiff, Gatwick , Glasgow and Manchester airports in a bitter row over pay and pensions

Last week, the military was mobilised to man border control points at airports – and were praised for their speed and efficiency, with British astronaut Tim Peake among those championing the troops’ work. 

Some 625 military personnel from the Army, Navy and RAF are covering today’s strikes, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.  

Today’s strike is the latest in a torrent of industrial action taking place across Britain that is set to cause chaos over the next week. 

Rail disruption will is set to continue today and on Thursday, with TSSA union members at Great Western Railway and West Midlands Trains walking out. 

It follows strike action on Boxing Day.  TSSA union members at Great Western Railway will walk out from noon to 11.59am on Thursday, and at West Midlands Trains for 24 hours from noon until the same time on Thursday.

West Midlands Trains said that none of its services would be running from Wednesday morning as a result of the TSSA strike.

Meanwhile, driving examiners have launched their own five-day strike as part of escalating industrial action by civil servants demanding better pay.

The protest involves PCS members in 71 test centres in eastern England and the Midlands who are employed by the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) as driving examiners and local driving test managers. 

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said of the examiners’ strike: ‘Our members have been offered a pay rise of just two per cent at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is above 10 per cent

The Home Office brought in personnel from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to cover last week’s strikes

‘We know our action will cause widespread disruption and inconvenience to people in eastern England and the Midlands – hundreds of driving tests have been cancelled already in other parts of the country – but the Government is to blame. 

‘These strikes could be called off tomorrow if Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt put some money on the table.’

Unions are looking at ways to stage further strikes by splitting ballots by job titles rather than holding a single vote, according to reports.

It comes after a day of travel chaos despite a rail strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union (RMT) coming to an end, with crowds of people left waiting at major train stations across London and many journeys delayed due to the late handover of engineering works.

Rail passengers have already been told to avoid travel for two weeks as the industry buckles under strike mayhem. 

Network Rail issued the warning amid a series of long-running disputes over pay and working conditions.

Commuters returning to work in the New Year will face days of mayhem, with rail strike action taking place throughout the first week of the January.

Vast swathes of the country’s railway network are predicted to come to a standstill, with RMT members walking on over pay and working conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 4.

They will go on strike again on January 6 and 7. And on Thursday, January 5 train drivers in the Aslef union will stage their own walk out. 

The combined protests mean only one-in-five trains will be running during the strikes, warned the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) while ‘half of the network will shut down’.

‘There are likely to be even fewer services on January 5 due to a strike by drivers who belong to [the union] Aslef,’ the RDG added. 

However, fresh reports suggest rail union and industry bosses are ‘nearly there’ in their efforts to agree a pay deal, raising hopes the latest walkouts could potentially be averted.

Sources told the Daily Mail that RMT union boss Mick Lynch has softened his stance and has been ‘the most deal-minded’ they have ever found him in recent meetings.

Negotiators are understood to be looking at using language ‘creatively’, particularly around reforming the industry, so both sides can better sell a deal.

Meanwhile, the i newspaper reported that the TSSA is poised to let different sections of its membership vote at different times in order to carry out multiple walkouts per week. 

A spokesperson told the paper: ‘Rather than balloting everybody in one single ballot, our intention is to split the ballot so that we can ballot station staff separately to controllers, for example, which would give us greater flexibility in when we can call people out for strike action.’

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘After two years of virtual Christmases, the British public deserve better than to have their festive celebrations impacted by strikes.

‘The Transport Secretary and rail minister have worked hard to facilitate a fair and reasonable offer, which two unions have accepted, and it is incredibly disappointing that some continue to strike.

‘We urge them to step back, reconsider and get back round the table, so we can start 2023 by ending this damaging dispute.’

Source: Read Full Article