British border workers set May 10 strike date

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s border control union has set a strike date for May 10 as part of its dispute with the government over retirement ages.

Lucy Moreton, the deputy general secretary of the Immigration Service Union, says workers at major airports such as London’s Heathrow as well as seaports will be affected by the 24-hour strike.

Border controls in Paris and Brussels connected to the Eurostar train service will also be affected.

“It is with deep regret,” Moreton said of the strike.

The union is demanding its employees be exempt from government increases in the retirement age because of the physical nature of their jobs.

The strike by the union, which represents 4,500 border control officers, comes at a time of great tension along U.K. border checkpoints.

Long lines at Heathrow — some visitors have reported waits of more than two hours — have become the subject of national angst, particularly with the country preparing to host the Summer Olympics from July 27-Aug.12.

Britain’s immigration minister Damian Green called the strike “completely unnecessary,” adding that he believes the “public will find it unacceptable” if the strike goes forward.

“The security of the U.K. border is of the utmost importance and we will use tried and tested contingency plans to ensure we minimize any disruption caused by planned union action,” he said.

Printed on Thursday, May 3, 2012 as: British border workers set May 10 strike day after disputes