London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Fresh warning of disruption on airport strike days

Fresh warning of disruption on airport strike days

A senior Border Force official has warned airline and port passengers to expect disruption over Christmas due to planned strikes by staff.

Steve Dann, chief operating officer, said he hoped to keep all airports and ports open as about 1,000 Border Force workers walk out over pay.

Staff will strike on 23-26 and 28-31 December affecting arrivals to the UK.

Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports will be affected.

Staff at the port of Newhaven will also strike. All strikers are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) which balloted for strike action after it said the government had refused to increase a 2% pay rise offer.

"In anticipation of the strike action, Border Force has for a number of months undertaken extensive planning, and we've been working with the travel industry and continue to work closely with all UK ports to assess the impacts of the announcement on the travelling public," Mr Dann said.

"We do have robust plans in place to minimise delays to passengers, but we've been very clear from the start that people should be prepared for disruption and take action to plan ahead."

Earlie this month, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said people should "think carefully" about their travel plans on strike days.

Military personnel, civil servants and Home Office volunteers have been trained to check passports when Border Force staff walk out.

But there are fears that delays in checking the passports of arriving passengers could lead to long queues and even people being held on planes, disrupting subsequent departures.

The PCS has said the replacement workers in have not been given sufficient training.

The union said its officers get five weeks training to do their jobs yet many of the stand-in staff have been given one week.

And it claimed civil servants from the National Crime Agency had been "trained at the last minute", with one day's training.

"You can't seriously expect people who have been trained for a day, or even a week, to do the job of officers with five weeks' training and many years experience," a PCS spokesperson said.

But Border Force managers believe they can maintain the same standards as normal for passport checks, and Mr Dann said safety and security at borders will be "non-negotiable".

Officials have refused to disclose the number of replacement staff or the length of training they have received.

Christmas break affected

It is the first Christmas since 2019 that airlines have been able to operate without Covid restrictions and up to two million passengers are expected to arrive between 23 and 31 December at the airports where the strikes will take place, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.

It has previously said more than 10,000 flights are scheduled to arrive at Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports during the period.

Travel expert and commentator Simon Calder said he was concerned about whether staff will be able to cope with the rush of early morning passengers at Heathrow airport on Friday, as the Christmas getaway begins.

Mr Dann urged passengers to use the automated electronic passport gates at airports if possible.

The BBC understands that the Border Force asked airports that are expecting passenger numbers on strike days to be above 70-80% of 2019 levels to "supress demand".

The move led British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to stop selling new tickets for inbound flights to Heathrow on the strike days.


Related Articles

London Daily
Russia's Electronic Warfare Neutralizes Western Weapons in Ukraine
Trump Challenges Biden to Debate and Golf Match
Macron Accuses Israeli Minister of Election Interference
US Senator Highlights Weaknesses in Western Military Industry During Ukraine Conflict
George Clooney Urges Biden to Withdraw from Presidential Race
Political Shift in the UK: A Detailed Analysis of Labour's Victory and Future Prospects
Viktor Orbán's Peace Mission: A Diplomatic Controversy in the EU
India Advocates Peace and Prosperity: PM Modi's Speech in Austria
New UK PM Keir Starmer Reaffirms Strong Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Denounces Double Standards on Gaza at NATO Summit
UK Police Arrest Suspect in Crossbow Attack After Three Women Killed
Sunita Williams Safe on ISS, to Address Earth on July 10
Biden Affirms Commitment To Presidential Race
France Faces Political Turmoil and Airport Strikes Ahead of Paris Olympics 2024
Putin Hosts PM Modi for a Private Meeting
TSMC: The Taiwanese Chip Giant Valued Over $1 Trillion
Boeing Pleads Guilty Over 737 MAX Crashes
2024 Predicted to Be World's Hottest Year
Iran's President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian Reiterates Support for Hezbollah
White House Denies Biden Being Treated for Parkinson's Disease
Biden to Meet New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer
Biden Insists on Continuing Presidential Race Amid Criticism
UK Defence Minister Pledges Enhanced Support to Ukraine
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal Resigns After Election Setback
Macron Faces New Political Challenges Despite Election Relief
France's Far-Right Falls Short in Parliamentary Elections
Key Figures in France's Left-Wing New Popular Front Bloc
England Reaches Euro 2024 Semifinals After Penalty Shootout Win
Rishi Sunak Apologizes After Historic Tory Defeat
Voter Discontent in Recent UK and French Elections
Trump was recorded attacking Biden: "I kicked the old pile of shit"
Understanding the MRP Method in UK Elections
US Officials Resign Over Biden's Gaza Policy
First-Time Immigrant Voters Aim to Influence UK Elections 2024
Reform UK Receives Major Donations from Brexit Campaign Group
Tata Steel Strike Called Off, Paving the Way for Crucial Talks
Sir Keir Starmer's Acceptance of Substantial Gifts from UK Donors
New Zealand Introduces Law to Make Tech Giants Pay for News
NASA Astronauts Stranded in Space Due to Boeing's Starliner Issues
OpenAI and Microsoft Sued for Copyright Infringement
Starmer Vows to Renegotiate Brexit Deal Amid Far-Right Rise in France
Monster Hurricane Beryl Hits Caribbean as Category Five Storm
EU Charges Meta with Breaching Antitrust Rules
Biden's Debate Performance Unites Democrats and Republicans
Prison Officer Faces Court Over Inmate Sex Video
Jude Bellingham's Iconic Euro 2024 Goal: A Historic Moment for England
Campaigners Push for Emergency Uplift Visa for Palestinians Escaping Gaza Conflict
French Elections: Battle to Thwart Far-Right Takeover
Supreme Court Grants Trump Partial Immunity, Delays Trial
China Criticizes US Restrictions on AI Investments