UK immigration staff set to strike

08 May 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration staff are due to strike on May 10th, prompting heightened concern about the length of queues at Britain's main airports.

Heathrow's UK immigration queues have already been under scrutiny of late as incoming passengers were forced to wait upwards of an hour to get through the system. Now it appears that there could be more disruption on the cards as the Immigration Services Union (ISU) confirmed that its members will walk out at ports and airports around the country later this week.

Approximately 4,500 UK Border Agency staff are represented by the union, so chaos could be on the cards if the government is unable to implement replacements for the strikers. UK immigration minister Damian Green explained, however, that there are plans in place to hire extra staff to start work this month.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, explained his doubts about the government's plans to deal with the strikes: "Drafting in staff from other areas of an already overstretched agency is like putting a sticking plaster on a serious injury, it will do nothing to stop the inevitable from happening.

"Everyone can see that the government's obsession with austerity isn't working and that what UKBA needs is more staff, not more cuts."

The dispute that is at the heart of the matter concerns plans to increase the retirement age for public servants, something that would impact ISU's members. Ministry of Defence workers, members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, civil servants, lecturers and health staff are also set to walk out over the same cause.