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Families face cancelled flights after Border Force join wave of Xmas strikes

AIRPORTS are the latest to face chaos at Christmas in fresh strikes misery.

A week of holiday walkouts by Border Force officials was announced yesterday.

Border force staff are set to strike over Christmas and New Year's Eve

Border force staff are set to strike over Christmas and New Year’s EveCredit: Reuters

The action will be a bitter blow to millions of people already suffering amid planned stoppages by rail and postal staff, as well as ambulance and healthcare workers.

Department for Work and Pensions and Highways Agency civil servants are also joining a wave of unrest over pay and conditions.

Around 1,000 Border Force staff, responsible for passport checks and immigration, are set to strike from December 23 to Boxing Day at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports.

And walkouts between December 28 and New Year’s Eve are planned.

The airports action is organised by the Public and Commercial Services union, which has already announced strikes at the Department for Work and Pensions, Highways Agency and among driving examiners.

General secretary Mark Serwotka yesterday threatened to work with other public sector unions to cause maximum chaos.

He told LBC radion: “We will work together far closer to ensure we are co-operating and co-ordinating our action.”

He claimed 40,000 civil servant members rely on foodbanks and 45,000 claim in-work benefits.

Mr Serwotka said: “We have tried for months to negotiate with the Government. No money or assurances have been forthcoming though.

“PCS members come to me, sometimes in tears, saying they can’t afford to put food on the table. Our action will escalate if the Government doesn’t come to the table.”

Meanwhile more than 600 troops have been trained for Border Force roles in a bid to beat the strikes.

Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick said: “The union’s decision to strike over the festive period is unjustifiable and will ruin the plans of thousands of families and businesses across the country.

“While we are working closely with all UK ports and airports and have plans in place to minimise any delays if strike action goes ahead, passengers should be ­prepared for their plans to be severely disrupted.”

CONFIRMED STRIKE DATES

BRITISH RAIL

13-14 December

16-17 December

6pm on Christmas Eve to 6am on 27 December

3-4 January

6-7 January

EUROSTAR

6, 18, 22, 23 December

BUS

Abellio

2-3 December

9-10 December

16-17 December

Metroline

8-9 December

15-16 December

Stagecoach strikes in Sunderland

23-24 December

26-27 December

BORDER FORCE OFFICERS AT BIRMINGHAM, CARDIFF, GATWICK, GLASGOW, HEATHROW AND MANCHESTER AIRPORTS

23-26 December

28-31 December

ROAD MAINTANENCE

Northwest, Yorkshire and North East

16-17 December

London and South East

22-25 December

West Midlands and South West

30-31 December

All areas

3-4 January

East Midlands and Eastern

6-7 January

HEATHROW AIRPORT BAGGAGE HANDLERS

16 December from 4am for 72 hours

ROYAL MAIL POSTAL

9, 11 December

14-15 December

23-24 December

NHS NURSES

15, 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 

RMT rail workers begin a fresh round of action next week before strikes from Christmas Eve to December 27.

Yesterday train drivers at 12 firms voted by 93 per cent to continue strike action in a long-running row over pay. Aslef union general secretary Mick Whelan insisted: “The resolve of our members is rock steady.

“We don’t want to inconvenience passengers — strikes are always a last resort.

“But the intransigent attitude of the train companies, with the Government acting with malice in the shadows, has forced our hand.”

General secretary Mark Serwotka threatened to work with other public sector unions to cause maximum chaosGeneral secretary Mark Serwotka threatened to work with other public sector unions to cause maximum chaos

General secretary Mark Serwotka threatened to work with other public sector unions to cause maximum chaosGeneral secretary Mark Serwotka threatened to work with other public sector unions to cause maximum chaosCredit: Sky News
RMT rail workers begin a fresh round of action next week before strikes from Christmas Eve to December 27 (pictured union leader Mick Lynch)

RMT rail workers begin a fresh round of action next week before strikes from Christmas Eve to December 27 (pictured union leader Mick Lynch)Credit: Alamy

Mick Lynch’s RMT union yesterday said: “The planned industrial action goes ahead as scheduled as there is no resolution to the dispute.”

The union blamed ministers for last-minute demands on driver-only operated trains for collapsing talks.

But Tory MP Greg Smith hit back: “The more unions go on a slash-and-burn strategy to hammer Britain, the further they drive public opinion away from their asks.

“Everyone wants a pay rise, but there is a reality that the money needs to come from somewhere.”

PM Rishi Sunak said: “Hard-working families are facing challenges. The Government has been reasonable.”