Significant disruption to flights can be expected this month after Home Office staff voted nine-to-one in favour of strike action. The ballot took place last month and has put civil servants - including Border Force staff - in a position to strike, although no specific dates have been announced yet.
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The government announced they will bring in the army to work at ports and airports if UK Border Force staff decide to strike, a minister has confirmed, as per The Independent.
Commenting on the ballot result, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said:
We are now in a position to call significant industrial action in support of our claim for a 10 per cent pay rise, pensions justice, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms.
If the strike goes ahead, the government has various contingency plans in place to minimise the disruption. Transport minister, Baroness Vere, responded, as per The Independent:
The government does have mitigations in place. All sorts of different people will be, or actually have been, trained. The army would be deployed under the military aid to the civil authorities (Maca) policy.
What it means for travellers
Further strikes from the PCS would just worsen the travel problems the country is already going through. 350 members of Unite will be involved in the strike action for 72 hours from 4 am, on 16 December and if the Union for Borders, Immigration & Customs (ISU) also strike then there will be a high likelihood of delays and cancelled flights this Christmas and the New Year.
Industrial action could also impact the trade of goods over the festive season as the strikes could make security checks at UK borders take significantly longer than usual, according to the Evening Standard.
Advice from Travel Supermarket suggests that customers:
Try not to panic. Strikes can be called off, often at the last minute, so it’s important to stay abreast of the situation in the lead-up to your trip.
If you have booked your package holiday with a tour operator, they have a responsibility to find alternative travel for you
As it stands, the earliest any strike could begin is 21 December, as two weeks’ notice is required for industrial action.
- Travel Supermarket'What to do if strikes disrupt your holiday'