Heathrow set for Easter travel chaos with 10-day strike to go ahead
Holidaymakers are set to face chaos at Heathrow over Easter after security workers voted to strike for 10 days.
The strike will affect people flying in and out of Terminal 5 from March 31 to April 9 as 1,500 security staff walk out, including those who carry out checks on travellers and their luggage as they pass through to departures.
British Airways passengers will be worst affected as the terminal exclusively serves flights from the airline. The strikes organised by Unite the Union will also include campus security guards who are responsible for checking cargo across the airport.
Heathrow said it would implement contingency plans in an effort to keep parts of the airport open and operational. The Telegraph has contacted British Airways for comment.
It came as passport workers announced a five-week strike in the run-up to the summer holidays, creating further pressure for travellers that mirrors the chaos seen last year.
More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working in passport offices in England, Scotland and Wales will take part in the action from April 3 to May 5 over pay, jobs and conditions.
Those working in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport will walk out from April 3 to May 5 while those in Belfast will strike from April 7 to May 5.
The union said the action was a "significant escalation" of its long-running dispute, warning it was likely to have a "significant impact" on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches.
It comes as demand for foreign holidays has recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Two thirds of Britons are planning a foreign holiday in the next month with more than a third (37 per cent) having already booked one, according to a poll of 2,000 adults by the travel association ABTA.
It is now a year since travellers had to have a Covid test or complete forms with 62 per cent of those polled saying they had been on a foreign holiday in the past 12 months.
Surge in demand for passports
It coincides with passport office bosses anticipating a similar surge in demand this year as happened last year when travellers delayed renewing their documents during Covid. Some 360,000 people faced longer waits than the normal 10-week target.
Passport office chiefs are drawing up contingency plans and are not changing their guidance that applicants can expect to get their documents back within 10 weeks.
Internal figures show the passport office processed more than 1.67 million applications in January and February, of which 95.5 per cent were processed within three weeks and 99.5 per cent within 10 weeks.
Mark Serwotka, the PCS general secretary, said: "This escalation of our action has come about because, in sharp contrast with other parts of the public sector, ministers have failed to hold any meaningful talks with us, despite two massive strikes and sustained, targeted action lasting six months.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Home Office will work hard to manage the impact of this strike action to ensure they can still provide the vital service to the British public as you would expect ahead of ahead of the summer where we fully acknowledge that many people will want to get away and enjoy the summer with their family.
"So we will do everything we can to mitigate the impact of the strikes."