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Heathrow Immigration staff could strike on Olympics eve

Boarder guards are set to walk out of Heathrow Airport on the eve of the Olympics, adding further fuel to the fire over security issues.

Up to 5,500 immigration offers could go on strike next week over wage and redundancy disputes. The timing could not be worse for Games organisers as the strike falls on what is expected to be the busiest day in the history of Heathrow Airport. .

The walk-out however was only secured by the union with the support of just one in ten staff.

The decision to strike will cause chaos and disruptions for nearly 130,000 passengers arriving on the day before the Olympic opening ceremony.

Striking workers under the Public and Commercial Services union are set to take further industrial action throughout the duration of the Games by refusing to work any additional hours than contracted.

Only a fifth of the 16,000-strong union members actually took part in the ballot, with a 57% of these in favour.

Those walking-out have been accused of ‘holding the country at ransom’ by a senior Conservative MP. Ministers are questioning the legitimacy of the strike in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Border Force is already under heavy scrutiny following lengthy delays at immigration desks, particularly at Heathrow Airport.

Brian Moore, head of the Border Force has already announced plans to step down in September after only being appointed as interim chief earlier this year.

Delays of up to two hours at immigration desks have already been seen at Heathrow Airport and there are fears that this could increase during the Olympics.

The threat of industrial action by airport staff has been on-going throughout the year. The Government has so far managed to avoid any serious repercussions following strikes in March, but there are growing concerns over how this industrial action will impact passengers.

With the looming threat of strikes and travel disruptions, it might be worth considering travel insurance if you’re going away this summer.

Date Created: 23 July 2012

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