Air travelers warned of delays due to UK passport control staff strike | Daily News Byte

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LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Passengers were warned of delays at British airports after passport control staff walked out on Friday, the first day of a New Year’s strike, although London’s Heathrow and Gatwick reported no major disruptions.

The Public and Commercial Services Union said more than 1,000 Border Force staff employed by the government expected to strike.

They follow nurses, paramedics and workers in the rail and postal sectors in the biggest wave of industrial action over pay and conditions in Britain for decades.

The union said its Border Force members were offered a 2% pay rise, well below inflation at 10.7% in November.

Border Force apologized for any disruption to travelers entering Britain and said it was working with partners across the travel industry to support the flow of passengers and goods.

“During periods of industrial action, passengers should be prepared for disruption,” Chief Operating Officer Steve Dane said.

Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, recorded “minimum queues” in its arrival hall.

“Immigration halls are free-flowing … Border Force and the military provide a good emergency service,” a spokesman said.

Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest, said passengers should expect long waits at passport control between Friday and the end of the year.

“We are … expecting some disruption, but flights are operating normally, arrivals and departures, and we expect that to continue,” head of passenger operations Adam Jones told Sky News.

Ahead of the strike action, which is scheduled to last until December 31 excluding December 27, the government said it was training members of the armed forces and government officials to help staff passport control at airports and ports.

Reporting by Paul Sandal and Farooq Suleman; Edited by John Stonestreet

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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