Border Force workers to strike over new rosters

Hundreds of Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport will launch a four-day strike on Monday in a dispute over working conditions.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said more than 300 of its members will walk out from 5am on Monday to 7am on Friday.

The union said the workers, based at Heathrow’s terminals two, three, four and five, are taking action in protest at plans to introduce new rosters they claim would see around 250 of them forced out of their jobs at passport control.

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said: “It’s disappointing that despite talks last week, the Home Office is not prepared to grant any flexibility to their new roster.

“None of our dedicated and highly-experienced members in the Border Force want to take strike action but the way they’ve been treated by their employer leaves them with no option.

“The Home Office still have time to prevent tomorrow’s strike if they agree to abandon this unworkable new system.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the union’s decision to strike but remain open to discussing a resolution with the PCS.

“The changes we are implementing will bring the working arrangements for Border Force Heathrow staff in line with the way staff work at all other major ports, provide them with more certainty on working patterns and improve the service to the travelling public.

“We have robust plans in place to minimise disruption where possible, but we urge passengers to check the latest advice from operators before they travel.”

The Home Office has not applied to use a new law aimed at guaranteeing a minimum level of service during strikes.

The department is confident about its plans to minimise potential disruption.