UK immigration staff to strike on eve of Olympics

20 Jul 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration staff are set to strike on the eve of the London 2012 Olympic Games, threatening to bring further chaos to the visa processing system.

Up to 5,500 immigration officials are due to strike next Thursday regarding a dispute over job cuts and pay. The decision to walk out could affect around 130,000 passengers expected to arrive in the country the day before the opening ceremony for the Olympics.

The workers are members of the Public and Commercial Services union and have voted to take further industrial action during the Games by refusing to work overtime as senior MPs accused the union of "holding the country to ransom". Theresa May, the home secretary, called the action "shameful" as contingency plans were organised to try and minimise the impact.

Ms May said: "They are holding a strike on what is one of the key days for people coming into this country for the Olympic Games. I believe it is not right for them to hold a strike. They will risk damaging people's enjoyment of coming through into the UK."

Just a fifth of the union's 16,000 members voted on the issue and 57 per cent of those were in favour.