PCS strike: Service disruption possible at some immigration reporting centres

Delays in processing claims at Croydon office.

9th March 2010: The UK Border Agency is apprehending localised service disruption at some of its contact centres, public enquiry offices and immigration reporting centres.

In fact, it is apprehending “delays in processing claims at Croydon public enquiry office, following the ongoing strike action by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).
All other public enquiry offices are offering a restricted service, and have contacted customers and rescheduled appointments, where possible.

Giving details, the UKBA said “the immigration enquiry bureau is offering a restricted service, but you can still book appointments at public enquiry offices using our online booking service.

“The nationality contact centre and asylum support contact centre are closed.
The public enquiry office in Wales and South West region is open and operating normally.

“The Midlands and East region is operating a very limited service and has rescheduled all planned appointments”.

The UKBA has also asserted that the travelling public could still face potential disruption at UK ports owing to strike action. So far the number of staff taking strike action is around 12 per cent. As such, there has been no disruption at any ports or airports, and the operations are normal.

The UKBA Chief Executive, Lin Homer, confirmed the contingency plans were in place to minimise delays, and that UK border security would not be compromised by the industrial action.

Lin Homer said: ‘We are disappointed that PCS members have voted in favour of industrial action.
 ‘Around 3,100 UK Border Agency staff (12 per cent) across the country are participating in the strike. I am pleased that initial indications show that disruption at ports and airports has been kept to a minimum, with the vast majority of our facilities and services open for business.

‘We expect that people travelling into the country may experience some delays at border control, but we will work hard to continue to keep these to a minimum. We hope that passengers will welcome the commitment of those staff who will be working despite the strike action to ensure that we check passengers through the controls as quickly as possible.

‘The public will find it difficult to understand the PCS continuing to protest on their own against a package which brings the Civil Service into line with the rest of the public sector and still offers more generous terms than much of the private sector.’

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