Heathrow Airport Border Force workers to strike during half term

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

More than 500 Border Force union members at Heathrow Airport are set to take a further three days’ strike action during the half term holidays.

They will walk off the job on Friday, May 31, Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 in a dispute over a new roster that has been imposed.

Workers will also refuse to work overtime for three weeks from June 4.

The three weeks of action “will include a work to rule and overtime ban running from 4 to 25 June”, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said on Friday.

The officers, who work in terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5, have already taken four days of action.

PCS union said in a statement: “The strike action on 29, 30 April, 1 and 2 May was well supported and members were clearly in favour of further action should there be no movement from the Home Office.

“Following the end of the last strike action at the beginning of May, we wrote to the Home Office again highlighting the many problems raised with the new roster system and reminding the employer there remains widespread disquiet and anger from members over this.

“We have set out to the Home Office that we are keen to try to find a resolution. But it was only following the threat of further strike action that the Home Office has only just indicated they are willing to meet however, as yet there’s been no consideration of the impact of the new roster on staff nor has the employer come back with any proposed changes.

“Therefore, as it stands the action will go ahead.

“The members are committed to the action and expect that their walkouts will disrupt passport checks for travellers coming into the UK at Heathrow airport.”

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said: “We are keen to resolve this dispute but the Home Office must first put something on the table for our members to consider.

“The Home Office has said it is ‘open to discuss’ a resolution but it only responded to our request for a meeting after we threatened further action.

“Until it comes back with changes to the roster that will benefit our members then the dispute will continue.”

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

“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.”

Heathrow Airport said it is “working closely with the Home Office and Border Force on contingency plans”, while adding that previous industrial action at Heathrow has “been managed successfully”.