Holiday travel disruptions expected at UK airports amid strikes

London Heathrow, April 20, 2016: Heathrow Terminal 5 is an airport terminal at Heathrow Airport. Opened in 2008, the main building in the complex is the largest free-standing structure in the UK

Travellers heading to the UK have been advised to prepare for delays as Border Force staff at major airports plan to strike from 23 December.

Around 1000 Border Force staff from Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff plan on striking from 23 to 26 December and again from 28 to 31 December over arguments concerning pay, pensions and jobs.

Nearly two million passengers are expected to arrive at the airports between 23 and 31 December, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. Over 10,000 flights are expected to arrive at the airports during the period.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members, are striking after the UK Home Office offered workers a 2 per cent pay increase instead of the 10 per cent bump they asked for.

The UK home secretary, Suella Braverman, advised people to “think carefully” about their travel plans as they could be impacted.

“If they go ahead with those strikes there will be undeniable, serious disruption caused to many thousands of people who have holiday plans,” Braverman said.

“I really want to urge people who have got plans to travel abroad to think carefully about their plans because they may well be impacted.

“It’s very regrettable that they have made this decision to potentially strike over critical times in the run-up and following Christmas and the New Year.”

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, rebutted: “The government can stop these strikes tomorrow if it puts money on the table.

“Like so many workers, our members are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. They are desperate.”

These strikes could potentially cause delays for airports like Heathrow, which have limited space. Long queues at passport control could leave passengers on aircrafts after they land, instead of immediately disembarking.

There could also be delays, cancellations or flights diverted and the airports could find themselves become a mess of winding queues, a scene many travellers experienced towards the beginning of the year.

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