Border Force staff to strike over Christmas

Border Force workers are set to strike across the Christmas period after the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) says it has “tried for months to negotiate with the government”.

86% of the PCS’ 100,000 members across 124 government departments and public sector employers voted in favour of strike action, with strikes to “escalate in the new year if this action doesn’t get the government to sit around the negotiating table”.

Staff will take action between 23rd and 26th December, and from 28th to 31st December, which will effect Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow and Manchester airports, as well as the Port of Newhaven.

General secretary of the PCS union, Mark Serwotka said: “This is a crisis.

“We keep being told the government has an open door, but there is no point the door being open if there is nothing behind that door.

“The public sector have no option other than to take industrial action because our members currently are skipping meals, not being able to put the heating on at home because of the poverty they are living in”.

The PCS is asking for a 10% pay rise, pensions justice, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms.

The Guardian has reported that more than 500 soldiers are being trained to replace the striking Border Force staff at ports and airports.

The move follows strikes announced in the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA), Rural Payment Agency (RPA), National Highways and Department for Work and Pensions.