Heathrow Airport Border Force officers strike over working conditions

Border Force Heathrow Airport More than 300 Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport have begun several days of strike action over changes to their working conditions.

The workers, who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, work in terminals two, three, four and five. The strike began on 29 April at 5am and will continue until 7am on 3 May.

Strike action is taking place as members claimed new rosters that the employer wants to introduce would see around 250 of them forced out of their passport control jobs. They argued that the roster changes will force them to work more than 50 hours a week in 10-hour shifts with few breaks, making it difficult for older workers, and those with families, disabilities and caring responsibilities.

Fran Heathcote, general secretary at PCS, said: “It’s disappointing that despite talks last week, the Home Office is not prepared to grant any flexibility to the new roster. None of our dedicated and highly experienced members in the Border Force want to take strike action but the way they’ve been treated by their employer leaves them with no option.

“Our members feel that bosses are just trying to get rid of ‘problematic’ staff who have responsibilities or needs and replace them with younger staff. They say this is grossly unfair and to the detriment of Border Force as it throws away decades of combined experience in high-pressure roles.”

The Home Office was contacted for comment prior to publication.

Border Force staff employed by the Home Force are entitled to a Civil Service pension with employer contribution rates of at least 26.6%, flexible-working options, 26 weeks maternity, adoption or shared parental leave at full pay, followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, maternity and adoption support leave at two weeks full pay, up to five days paid volunteering leave, a season ticket or bikes-for-work loan, access to staff support networks, an employee assistance programme, discounted gym membership, retail discounts and staff recognition schemes.