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UK border officials to launch strike on eve of Olympics

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-19

Thousands of British border officials, including immigration staff at Heathrow Airport, will begin a 24-hour strike on the eve of the London Olympics to protest against job losses, low wages and poor working conditions, their union said Thursday.

AFP - British border officials will strike on the day before the start of the London Olympics in a row over jobs, pay and working conditions, their union said on Thursday.

Thousands of Home Office staff, including immigration workers at London's Heathrow Airport, a main gateway to the Games, are to stage a 24-hour strike on July 26.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said its members would also take other forms of industrial action, such as a ban on overtime, from July 27 to August 20, covering the entire duration of the Olympics.

The strike falls on what is expected to be the busiest day in Heathrow's history.

The union said just over 57 percent of those who voted backed strike action, although only 20 percent of the 16,000 members cast votes.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka blamed government cuts for making his members' lives "intolerable".

"The lives of staff have been made intolerable by these cuts and they're at breaking point.

"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."

Britain's interior minister, Home Secretary Theresa May, said the decision to strike was "shameful".

"They are holding a strike on what is one of the key days for people coming in for the Olympic Games," she said. "I think that is shameful, frankly.

"We will of course put contingency arrangements in place to ensure we can deal with people coming through the border as smoothly as possible."

Heathrow has had to draft in extra border staff to cope with the thousands of arrivals for the Olympics, after some passengers faced waits of several hours to have their passports checked in recent weeks.

 

Date created : 2012-07-19

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