Thousands of passengers arrive at strike airports amid threat of disruption

The Border Force strikes will take place every day for the rest of the year, except December 27.

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Thousands of passengers arriving at airports in the UK are being warned they face disruption amid the start of Border Force strikes.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union employed by the Home Office to operate passport booths walked out on Friday at Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester airports, and the port of Newhaven in East Sussex.

Photo dated: June 27, 2022 - Passengers queue inside the departures terminal of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London
Photo dated: June 27, 2022 - Passengers queue inside the departures terminal of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London

The Border Force strikes will take place every day for the rest of the year, except December 27.

Around a quarter of a million passengers are arriving on flights at affected airports on Friday, including approximately 10,000 people who landed at Heathrow before 7am.

Travellers were warned to expect delays amid fears that long queues at passport control could lead to people being held on planes, disrupting subsequent departures.

Military personnel and volunteers from the civil service have been trained to check passports.

There have been no changes to flight schedules, and no visible impact on passengers.

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “Everything is going okay at the moment.

“There’s plenty of staff. The e-gates are all operating. It’s going well.

“There’s no delays as far as we’re aware, and no queues at the moment.

“I’m standing in arrivals and passengers are flowing through as normal.”

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union take part in a border force workers strike action near Heathrow Airport
Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union take part in a border force workers strike action near Heathrow Airport

Further industrial action is expected to take place after Christmas that will impact London Heathrow specifically, as baggage handling company Menzies are set to ballot their workers.

Speaking to GB News, travel expert Sally Gethin said the action "will affect all operations, both departures and arrivals," and will hit the airport "at a critical time."

Meanwhile, postal deliveries and driving lessons are set to be disrupted by strikes in the days before Christmas.

Royal Mail, National Highways and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) employees are taking industrial action on Friday.

These workers will continue their strike into Saturday, when staff represented by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, Abellio London bus workers and Environment Agency employees will also launch separate waves of action.

This follows two days of strikes by NHS staff, as thousands of nurses walked out on Tuesday, and ambulance workers joined picket lines on Wednesday.