Published On: Tue, Dec 6th, 2022

Travel chaos warning as Brits warned to expect ‘very long queues’ at Christmas | Travel News | Travel

A Government minister has warned travellers that there could be travel disruption this Christmas. Border force staff have indicated there could be strikes during the holiday season.

Border Force staff have voted to strike as part of a pay dispute and the union has indicated that strikes could impact Christmas and New Year.

Aviation minister Baroness Vere told the ABTA Travel Matters conference: “No days for strikes have been declared at the moment and the Government does have mitigation measures in place.”

However, the minister warned that passengers could face “very long queues” in some places and passengers could face disruption.

Soldiers have reportedly been receiving training and could step into Border Force roles at Folkestone and Heathrow.

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Baroness Vere said: “The Government is talking to third parties about keeping ports and airports open.

“The Home Office has set out its plans and the Department for Transport is working very closely with the transport operators.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “It is likely there will be queues at Christmas, particularly at Heathrow.”

The PCS Union, which includes the Border Force staff, said: “We are now in a position to call significant industrial action in support of our claim for a 10 percent pay rise, pensions justice, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms.”


The union said: “Our members would be stuck with two below inflation offers, the closure of ticket offices, the removal of guards and lots of job losses. This is an awful offer and it’s the passenger that loses.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “These ongoing strikes and the general lack of overall service across the UK’s rail networks, is forcing commuters and business travellers to consider other alternatives, especially working from home. 

 “This latest round of strikes could not come at a worse time and will cause huge amounts of chaos during the Christmas period. These strikes will impact businesses, still recovering from the pandemic, robbing them of the last-minute Christmas shopping and festive meals on which they traditionally rely. UK hospitality has already warned recently that strikes will cost the sector about £1.5 billion in lost sales.

“Christmas is also an incredibly busy time for holidaymakers and international travellers and these strikes will impact their plans with missed flights and cancelled bookings which puts further pressure on an already suffering tourism industry. Unions are clearly trying to do what’s best for their members, but in the in the meantime hardworking people are trying to go about their daily lives, whether that’s for business or personal reasons, and facing no end of disruption. Many thousands of people will be looking to travel over the Christmas period, and any further striking over this period would be another major issue for the travel industry.”

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