Public and Commercial Services Union warns travellers of long delays at UK ports and airports
28th July 2009: If you are an immigrant gearing up to fly back home during the holiday season, a two-day walk-out from August 5 by 1,200 staff from the UK Border Agency may leave grounded your vacation plans for some time.
The walkout follows change in shift patterns and working practices with the merger of customs and immigration controls into the single UK Border Agency, giving it customs powers.
Even though the UK Border Agency said contingency plans would be put into place to minimise disruption, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) has warned travellers of ‘long delays’ at the UK ports and airports.
As many as 78 per cent of PCSU members had in a poll backed industrial action over the altered working practices resulting from the merger. The union insisted the merger meant immigration staff would have to carry out custom officers’ duties, for which they had not been trained.
PCSU spokesman Alex Flynn said they were obviously in favour of avoiding inconvenience to the public, but the members wanted to continue doing the jobs they were hired for.
A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: “If industrial action does take place, border controls will be maintained and there will be little effect on the work of the UK Border Agency.”