UK border control staff go on strike

About 2,500 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) began a two-day walkout this morning in protest at proposed changes to working practices, although early reports suggest disruption is minimal.

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said that queues at passport control were already back to normal following some delays earlier this morning. He added that passengers might experience some problems during the peak evening period, between 5pm and 8pm.

A spokeswoman for the Port of Dover reported no delays or disruption.

“This strike action is fundamentally about the agency efforts to modernise its working practices to deliver a more efficient and effective service,” said Lin Homer, chief executive of the UKBA.

“We expect the vast majority of our facilities and services to remain open for business and will work hard to keep any possible delays to a minimum.”

Mark Serwotka, general secreatary for the PCS, said: “Far from saving money, these plans will increase costs unless there are also job cuts, and we believe this is what UKBA is planning.”

“Our members perform vital roles in keeping our borders secure and we can not accept cuts or changes that put this at risk.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said disruption would be “variable” and “marginal”, but insisted that a “national contingency plan” was in place to minimise delays.

The UKBA is publishing updates on its website (