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Border Force staff begin four-day strike at Heathrow airport



UK Border Force staff have walked out at London Heathrow in the first of several planned strikes by different workers at the airport in the next two weeks.

Hundreds of Border Force staff, who operate passport control services at Heathrow, have gone on strike between Monday (29 April) and Thursday (2 May).

The workers, who are members of the PCS union, are in dispute with the UK Home Office over proposed changes to their rosters and shift patterns. A planned four-day strike earlier this month was called off at the last minute to allow negotiations to take place between the two sides.

The Border Force industrial action is set to be followed by another strike later this week by refuelling workers based at Heathrow, which starts Saturday (4 May). While around 800 passenger services staff at the airport are also due to walk out between 7-13 May.

PCS said in a statement: “The strike action comes because of the employer’s failure to enter into meaningful negotiations with PCS, and lack of willingness to offer any movement on their plans.

“The members are committed to the action and expect that their walkouts will disrupt passport checks for travellers coming into the UK at Heathrow airport.”

A Home Office spokesperson said that the proposed changes for Border Force staff would “improve the service to the travelling public”.

“Keeping our borders secure remains our top priority and we have robust plans in place to minimise any potential disruption,” added the Home Office in a statement.

A spokesperson for Heathrow told BTN Europe on Monday (29 April) that “passengers are travelling as normal currently” through the airport despite the Border Force strike.

Due to the walkout, passengers will be more reliant on using the automated eGates at Heathrow this week. But this system suffered a nationwide technical failure on Thursday (25 April) affecting all UK airports, as well as the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station in London.

The Home Office apologised for the delays caused to passengers by this system outage, which was resolved later the same day.

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