Heathrow Airport staff announce four-day strike as passengers told to arrive early for flights

Queues at Heathrow Airport
The four-day strike could cause major delays at the Heathrow Airport (stock photo) -Credit:Carl Court/Getty Images

Hundreds of staff at Heathrow Airport will strike for four days later this month as 250 passport control jobs have been put at risk by a new Home Office roster, a union claims. The strike is due to begin on April 29 and will last four days until May 2, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) announced on Tuesday (April 16).

The strike will be followed by a work-to-rule period until May 18 where workers work strictly to the minimum requirements of their contracts. If you're planning a spring break during this time and flying from Heathrow it is a good idea to arrive extra early to avoid missing your flight during the disruption.

This is the latest development in the ongoing dispute between PCS and the Home Office. Last week a strike that had been planned was called off by the PCS as the Home Office agreed to further talks which began this week.

READ MORE: New London Bus Company to be established to bring routes back into public ownership if Sadiq is re-elected

The union has served a new notice of strike action and if these talks do not reach a satisfactory conclusion for PCS they have said they are in a position to take industrial action. The Home Office has said they have plans to minimise the disruption and will deploy the necessary personnel to meet demand.

Staff have expressed heartbreak at being forced out of the job that they have undertaken in Border Force for years, PCS said. Others have said the new roster, due to be imposed by the Home Office on 29 April, is ‘unworkable’.

PCS General Secretary Fran Heathcote said: “Our members are angry and disappointed at being forced out of their jobs. While not everyone will be affected, the changes will disproportionately hit those who are disabled or have caring responsibilities.

“The Home Office should be doing all it can to retain experienced, trained staff – not lose them by introducing an unworkable new roster system.”

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 other ports, provide them with more certainty on working patterns, and improve the service to the travelling public. Keeping our borders secure remains our top priority and we have robust plans in place to minimise any potential disruption.”

The Home Office recommend that passengers check the latest advice from their operators before travelling.

Get the biggest stories from around London straight to your inbox. Sign up to MyLondon's The 12 HERE for the 12 biggest stories each day.