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easyJet warned passengers they could face long queues due to Border Force strikes. The strikes will impact several of the UK’s major airports.
easyJet said: “The UK Border Force are planning to strike at several UK airports between the 23-25 and 28-30 December with some disruption expected on December 26 and 31 too.
“We’ve been advised that queues at passport control could be up to two hours long, for all passengers arriving into the UK at Gatwick, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester Airport.
“If you’re due to fly with us over this period, we’ll work hard to keep you informed and make your trip as easy as possible this Christmas.”
Staff from the Public and Commercial Service (PCS union) is striking over a pay dispute and have warned they will escalate action in the New Year if the issue is not resolved.
easyJet also shared advice for passengers who do need to travel during the period of Border Force strikes.
- “When you arrive, passport queues will be longer than usual. The airports are working to reduce the impact, but please make sure you have what you need to make the wait easier such as charged phones, essential medication and something enjoyable to read or watch while you wait.
- If you’re usually able to travel with either an ID or a Passport, we’d recommend that you bring your passport as these can be used at any airport with eGates in place and will help to speed up your journey.
- If you’re travelling with hold luggage, please label it carefully and add something to make it distinctive, as the baggage reclaim area may be busier due to delays caused at the border.
- If you or anyone you’re travelling with have additional mobility needs, or a disability that means you may need extra assistance when you travel – please let us know as early as possible by contacting our Special Assistance Team and we’ll be happy to help.”
The airline added: “If you’re due to fly into the UK during the time of the Border Force strike, and would like to change your plans, please contact us as soon as possible.
“Our team will be happy to offer you some alternative options such as changing your flight dates fee-free 14 days either side of the strike dates or providing a flight voucher for the full value of your booking.”
When the strikes were announced, Mark Serwotka, PCS boss said that members had no option but to strike.
He said members “were currently skipping meals, not being able to put the heating on at home because of the poverty they are living in.”
About 1,000 Border Force staff are expected to walk out during the strikes and the Government may use the military to cover some roles.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our priority is to ensure passengers get through the border safely and as quickly as possible.
“We are working closely with airlines and Border Force on mitigation plans for potential strike action by Border Force officers and these plans will now be implemented for the notified days.
“The Home Office advises that immigration and customs checks may take longer during peak times on strike days, and Heathrow will support Border Force to minimise these impacts with the aim of processing passengers through the border as efficiently as possible.
“Passengers are advised to check their flight status with their airline before travelling. We encourage all parties to resolve this dispute quickly.”
Britons are also facing disruption on the railways this Christmas as staff from the RMT union strike over pay.
Staff will walk out from 6pm on December 24 until 6am on December 27. The union said it remained “available for talks”.
Nurses, postal workers and bus drivers are also taking part in strikes over December.
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