The UK’s airports could be thrown into chaos next week when immigration workers go on strike. The Immigration Service Union (ISU) has told its members to down tools on Wednesday 30 November, in a dispute over pensions. Up to 2.6 million workers are expected to participate in the strike across all UK entry ports.
Heathrow’s operating officer, Normand Boivin, was reported saying that the strike could cause “gridlock” at the UK’s largest airport.
“There are likely to be very long delays of up to 12 hours to arriving passengers,” The Telegraph quoted Boivin as saying, adding that passengers “would need to be held on arriving aircraft” due to lack of space in the terminals.
“This in turn would quickly create gridlock at the airport with no available aircraft parking stands, mass cancellations or departing aircraft and diversions outside the UK for arriving aircraft,” he predicted.
In a statement released this week, the ISU said there is “no alternative” for what it called the “highly unusual” decision to take industrial action. The 24-hour strike will take place from midnight on Tuesday, and the union has threatened to take further action every 28 days if its demands are not met.
Several airlines, including BA, have said they will allow passengers to rebook free of charge if their scheduled flights falls on Wednesday.