Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2024

Heathrow airport chaos warning as workers could go on strike over Easter | Travel News | Travel

More than 600 Border Force officers working at Heathrow Airport are to ballot for strike action following proposed changes to their working conditions.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) employees, who carry out passport checks and immigration controls, could see new shift patterns introduced at the .

Fran Heathcote, General Secretary of the PCS, noted that not taking action on the measures could see members of staff forced to decide between working much longer hours or leaving altogether.

She explained: “Our members are united in their opposition to these draconian plans. One aspect of the plans would force to choose between finding another job or losing their allowances, another would see others having to sign up to new, exhausting shifts or leaving altogether.

“This is an appalling way to treat long-serving, dedicated staff, so it’s no wonder [why] we’ve recruited hundreds of members in recent weeks. The employer can avoid strike action by withdrawing these plans, so the ball’s very much in their court.”

Calls for industrial action were called after Thomas Woldbye, the new Chief Executive of Heathrow, announced a plan to cut the cost of running the popular airport.

The new boss noted that some members of the airport’s security staff will be outsourced in a bid to save more than £400million.

Jonathan Coen, Director of Security at Heathrow Airport, has reassured employees that there would not be any job losses, however the PCS fear that it could discourage workers from staying at the airport.

The ballot on whether to strike will run from March 1 to March 22, 2024, meaning that, if the strike does go ahead, it could affect tourists going away for the Easter holidays.

With around 1,300 planes taking off and landing at Heathrow each day, making it one of the busiest two-runway airports in the world, the strike could cause significant delays to passengers.

Holidaymakers using Heathrow for their upcoming trip should make sure that they can arrive several hours before their flight is set to depart.

According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, if airport strikes lead to planes being cancelled entirely, passengers should receive either an alternative flight when it is possible or a full refund.

Airports are also obligated to give passengers vouchers for food and drink and, if they need to wait overnight for their replacement flight, accomodation.

However, the organisation also urged tourists to stay calm during any industrial action and to treat all staff with respect.

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