Travelers brace for misery at UK’s busiest airports as Border Force workers go on strike

Hundreds of thousands of air passengers face possible delays today as Border Force workers are the latest to go on strike.

More than 1,000 staff are leaving, affecting passport control offices at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow airports, as well as the port of Newhaven in East Sussex.

The strike – by members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union employed by the Home Office – will last until the start of Boxing Day, before another round from December 28 until the start of New Year’s Eve .

More than 10,000 flights are due to land at these airports during these times and more than 250,000 passengers arriving on Friday have been warned to expect delays.

Airports have said most departing flights will not be affected, although some arriving passengers – especially those who cannot use eGates – could experience delays.

Royal Mail workers will also be on strike today, their fifth day of action this month, in what Royal Mail has described as a ‘cynical attempt to ransom Christmas’.

The company estimated that the strike, which will continue on Christmas Eve, has already cost it £100million.

National motorway workers in London and the South East will continue their four-day walkout which began on Thursday.

The workers, who plan, design, build, operate and maintain the roads, follow the action of their colleagues in Yorkshire and the Humber, in the North West and North East of England.

Hundreds of thousands of workers are on strike over the winter as unions seek to raise wages in line with the rate of inflation to help protect their members from the cost of living crisis.

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Railway workers on strike on Christmas Eve

Railway workers represented by the RMT union will strike from 6pm on Saturday until 6am on December 27, while East Midlands Railway will be hit by a strike on December 23 and 24 by the Unite union.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency workers will strike today and tomorrow in the North West of England, as well as in Yorkshire and the Humber, with more strikes expected in other areas over the next few months. next weeks.

Hundreds of south and west London bus drivers employed by Abellio will strike tomorrow, December 27 and 31, ahead of a further eight days in January in their pay dispute.

They have already taken 10 days of action in the past two months.

New strikes in January for NHS workers

Earlier this week, NHS staff were on strike, with nurses leaving on Tuesday and paramedics following them on Wednesday.

Pat Cullen, director of the Royal College of Nursing, said on Thursday that if she did not hear from Health Secretary Steve Barclay by the end of the day she would announce new strike dates in January.

“The public is clear – as am I – that the way to avoid further strikes is for the government to stop dithering and repeating the same tired lines and commit to serious negotiations with me,” he said. she stated.

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The government has refused to negotiate on pay, insisting it accept recommendations from independent pay review bodies.

Paramedics, represented by Unison, have already announced new strikes, with workers in London, Yorkshire, the North West, North East and South West released on January 11 and January 23.

Some 25,000 paramedics from Unison, Unite and GMB unions walked out coordinated strike on December 21 – their biggest strike in 30 years.

GMB union members from nine ambulance trusts are also preparing to strike on December 28, while 1,000 members of the Welsh ambulance service union are expected to announce strike dates in the new year.

Unison General Secretary Christina McAnea said, “It is only through talks that this dispute will end.”

NHS Trust leaders have warned that Christmas could be one of the toughest the health service has seen, with strikes threatening to worsen an “already deeply difficult situation”.

Last week, one in four ambulance patients in England waited over an hour to be handed over to hospital A&E teams, according to the latest figures.

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