PCS: Knee-jerk response will not solve systemic UKBA problems

The government's knee-jerk response to the latest criticism of the UK Border Agency will not solve systemic problems caused by years of job cuts, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has said.

The union has consistently pointed out the failings in the border agency, including huge backlogs in immigration and asylum cases and delays at ports and airports.

Rather than deal with these issues, ministers and senior managers have sought to demonise the union and its representatives, most recently sacking Liverpool rep Kevin Smith after he raised legitimate concerns over staffing and backlogs, PCS said.

The Home Secretary’s announcement that UKBA – which only recently was separated from the border force – will be split up again, fails to grasp the underlying causes and is likely to add to pressures on staff, PCS said.

Reacting to Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent speech on immigration, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said “the debate about immigration has for too long been based on myths not facts, with staff used as a political football.

"Instead of burying their heads in the sand, ministers and senior managers should accept that they cannot run important public services on a shoestring budget with so few staff."

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