A strike at airports by UK Home Office staff including immigration and Border Agency staff planned for the eve of the Olympics has been called off.
The agreement to stop the strike came during talks on Tuesday night. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said they agreed to halt the strike because the government said they would recruit 800 new staff at the Border Agency and a further 300 in passport offices. The decision came just ask the government were seeking a High Court injunction to stop it.
The union has not ruled out further strikes in the autumn as they have yet to agree on the issue of caps on pay rises and compulsory redundancies, but for now, the UK has averted potentially embarrassing delays at airports during the Olympic period.
Mark Serwotka, the PCS’s general secretary, said: “We are not ending our dispute with the Home Office today or around the questions we have raised. “What we have done is not call industrial action tomorrow or in the next few weeks. The dispute remains in place.”
The government claims that it has not backed down on the issues however, but that the roles had been decided before the decision by the union to strike and were not new jobs created because of the threatened strikes. Immigration Minister Damian Green said the posts were “being advertised to fill gaps left by normal staff turnover”.
Airports operator BAA welcomed the news: “So far passengers arriving for the Olympics have had a smooth journey through Heathrow and it is great news that those arriving tomorrow can also expect a warm welcome to London and the Games,” said a spokeswoman.