Union for Border Force staff announces next set of February strike dates

Wed 1 Feb 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK border force logo above airport border port

As the latest day of national strikes begins, a union representing key border workers has announced a fresh series of industrial action later in February.

Sky News reports that the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has confirmed that 17, 18, 19 and 20 February will feature walkouts from Border Force staff across four ports - Dover, Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

“Our members perform vital roles. We therefore expect our strikes tomorrow will have a massive impact on public services.

“And the strikes we have announced today in the Border Force will impact on people returning from their holidays during the half-term period.

“For while the government brought untrained military personnel in to replace our highly skilled and experienced officers in airports over Christmas, they won’t be able to do that in France.”

Serwotka went on to blame the government for the disruption and called for increased pay to combat high levels of inflation.

Today’s strike

The announcement comes as workers from PCS strike today (1 February).

The government is expected to deploy members of the armed services to conduct border checks in an effort to mitigate the damage, reports the Guardian.

The Joint Customs Consultative Committee – of which the Institute of Export & International Trade is a member – previously advised that today’s strikes would impact the movement of goods through UK ports and airports as well as goods arriving from the three French ports facing PCS walkouts.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) also warned that the disruption might carry on until the morning of 2 February.

Global picture

As reported previously by the IOE&IT Daily Update, the UK faces a series of strikes from a range of different sectors – including ports and logistics – as waves of industrial action continue over complaints of low pay and poor working conditions.

More broadly, Bloomberg reports that global industrial unrest in ports had risen significantly in 2021, citing data from maritime security consultancy Crisis24 showing that more seaports had faced labour disruption than in 2021.

A spokesman from Crisis24 said: “Labour unrest is unlikely to decrease going into 2023, and may in fact worsen in the likely event that global economic conditions do not improve.”