Another Olympics threat as Home Office staff vote for strike
Thousands of staff at the Home Office, including airport immigration workers, have voted to go on strike over jobs, pay and other issues, raising the threat of industrial action hitting the Olympics.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said 57% of its members had backed a campaign of action in protest at cuts.
Union leaders will meet tomorrow to decide their next move, which could include a walkout at border controls at ports and airports including Heathrow as well as other forms of industrial action such as a ban on overtime.
The union could also decide on new tactics including targeting departments such as the Criminal Records Bureau or Passport Office.
Any strike just before the opening ceremony of the Olympics on July 27 could have a big impact on people travelling to the UK to watch the event, the union believes.
Officials said a work-to-rule and overtime ban could have a big impact on border controls and in passport offices.
The PCS is in dispute with the Home Office on several issues, including plans to cut 8,500 jobs, the threat of compulsory redundancies in the passport office in Newport, South Wales, a 1% pay rise cap following a two-year wage freeze, privatisation of services, and alleged victimisation of union reps.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the issues which have caused the dispute were flaring in other Government departments, which could also lead to industrial action.
Mr Serwotka said: "Ministers have known about these issues for a very long time but have chosen not to act.
"We believe they have acted recklessly and irresponsibly in cutting so many jobs and, in the case of the UK Border Agency, they have simply tried to paper over the cracks by deploying severely undertrained staff at our borders.
"If these issues are not resolved, they threaten to seriously undermine the Home Office's ability to provide vital public services, and we cannot sit back and allow that to happen."
The union said cuts in the Border Agency was causing "chaos" and leading to long queues at airports such as Heathrow.
PCS members at the Department for Transport, including driving test examiners and Coastguards, have been taking industrial action over the past few weeks, while staff in other Government departments including the Ministries of Defence and Justice, are set to vote in the coming weeks on how to campaign against cuts.
Around 16,000 PCS members in the Home Office were balloted, with a 57% vote for strikes and 75% majority for other forms of action, on a turnout of 20%.
Have shock jocks gone too far after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
World news in pictures
British father faces charges after confessing to slitting his two children's throats in Lyon flat
- 1 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 2 British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Seeking Humanities teachers who are ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths Teaching within Secondary Scho...
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Gove...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Randstad Education is the market le...