Travellers arriving in UK on Wednesday warned of longer queues as Border Force join massive day of strikes

Border Force strikes on Wednesday are expected to affect every airport and port in the UK  (Reuters)
Border Force strikes on Wednesday are expected to affect every airport and port in the UK (Reuters)

Travellers arriving in the UK on Wednesday are warned to expect long queues as Border Force staff join a huge day of cross-sector industrial action.

Every airport and port in the UK is due to be affected when more than 130,000 Public and Commerical Services (PCS) Union members at government departments and agencies including Border Force walk out until around 7am on Thursday.

The government has warned those travelling into the UK “should be prepared to face longer wait times at UK border control” and urged passengers to check with their travel providers before travelling.

PCS members are striking as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and job security.

Several unions in France have also called for strike action and demonstrations on Wednesday, which may lead to additional disruption to services, and queues at French ports.

The government said it has “undertaken extensive planning to minimise disruption, reduce queues and keep our border safe ahead of Border Force strike action”, with hundreds of people including military personnnel having been trained to carry out border checks, “detect harmful goods and safeguard vulnerable individuals”.

Steve Dann, Border Force Chief Operating Officer, said: “It is disappointing that yet again strike action may cause disruption to travellers entering the UK.

“Border Force’s number one priority to is keep our citizens safe and borders secure. We are working closely with port operators and partners across the travel industry to meet critical demand and support the flow of passengers and goods through our border.

“During this period of industrial action, travellers should be prepared for disruption.

“We encourage everyone to check the latest advice from operators before travelling.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka previously said: “PCS members are suffering a completely unacceptable decline in their pay. By April, one third of HMRC staff, for example, will be earning just the minimum wage. Forty thousands civil servants have used a foodbank. It’s an appalling way for the government to treat its own workforce.”

The PCS action will mark be the largest civil service and public sector strike in years - affecting 132 government departments and agencies, including Border Force.

Wednesday will also see widescale striks across other sectors.

It will mark the final day in a three-day walk-out by junior doctors, and a 24-hour walk-out affecting London’sTube network.