UK Border Staff Striking on Eve of Olympics

Government slams 'shameful' strike
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2012 1:41 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2012 2:13 AM CDT
UK Border Staff Striking on Eve of Olympics
Airport police patrol an arrival terminal at Heathrow Airport yesterday.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Olympic organizers fear that a strike called for the day before the Games open will massively snarl the plans of hordes of visitors. Thousands of government workers—including immigration staff at London's Heathrow Airport—plan a 24-hour strike next Thursday, which will be followed by a refusal to do overtime for the next three weeks, during which the airport is expected to process the largest numbers of passengers in its history, CNN reports. The airport's ability to cope with the influx was in doubt even before the strike was called.

Government ministers have branded the strike "shameful," and "selfish and irresponsible," but union leaders say they need to bring attention to budget cuts, which have made members' lives intolerable. "This is not about the Olympics," says the chief of the Public and Commercial Services Union. "What the government is doing by papering over the cracks is much more irresponsible. If it takes this action to highlight the reckless way they are carrying on, that's what we'll do." (More strike stories.)

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