PCS member defending jobs and services. Photo: Paul Mattsson
PCS member defending jobs and services. Photo: Paul Mattsson

PCS member in the Home Office

More than 600 Border Force workers at Heathrow Airport have voted for strike action over proposed changes to rosters and working conditions. The Border Force officers, who carry out immigration controls and passport checks, voted by nearly 90% for strike action and are represented by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

The strike ballot was called after Border Force, a law enforcement command within the Home Office, sought to impose a new ‘team-working fixed roster’ from 29 April, and remove workers’ legacy terms and conditions, reasonable adjustments, and flexible working arrangements. This could leave 250 staff on passport control without a job, and force them to find a new job elsewhere in the Home Office.

On 28 March, PCS announced four days of strike action at Heathrow Airport from 11-14 April, after issuing written notice to the employer. However, on 5 April the PCS announced strike action was suspended “following the Home Office’s desire for clarification and in the spirit of collaboration”. This suggests that PCS has been forced into taking a backstep following a challenge to the contents of its written notice by the Home Office.

The use of the word “collaboration” by the PCS leadership will raise concerns among members about the basis on which the action has been suspended. Have any concessions been won? Although no additional detail has been released by the union, another reason given for suspending the action was to “seek further negotiations” with the employer.

Marion Lloyd, chair of the Broad Left Network, a group of socialist activists in PCS, and presidential candidate in the upcoming national elections, said: “The membership has voted for action; we should serve notice again and keep up the pressure”.

The PCS elections for president and the National Executive Committee open on 18 April and close on 9 May.

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