Millions of Britons face travel chaos as strikes hit

Travel expert Simon Calder gives advice amid border force strikes

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Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are taking part in industrial action today. Affected airports include Heathrow and Gatwick.

Travellers have been warned to expect disruption as Border Force staff walk out at major airports.

Simon Calder, travel expert, tweeted: “Flying to Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow or Cardiff today? Expect longer than usual queues at the UK Border.”

About 1,000 Border Force workers are expected to take part in the strikes running until Boxing Day.

The affected airports are Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow.

The military has been drafted in to help out at the major airports and also expected to assist at Newhaven Port.

The members of the PCS union are in a long-running dispute with the Government over pay and working conditions.

Heathrow has said passengers on departing flights are unlikely to be affected by the strike action.

Passengers who are landing at the airport will be able to use the e-gates, but this isn’t possible for everyone.

Children under the age of 12 are unable to use the e-gates, which could mean some long queues for families.

Travel expert, Simon Calder, advised passengers to remove hats and glasses before entering the e-gates.

The machine will ask people to do so but the process should be quicker if people do it beforehand.

Over 570 flights are scheduled to land at Heathrow on December 23 in what is set to be the busiest Christmas for airports since 2019.

Steve Dann, Border Force chief operating officer, told the BBC that travellers should be prepared for disruption.

He said many military and Civil Service staff were sacrificing their Christmas to help out and would not be able “to operate with the same efficiency as our permanent workforce”.

PCS general secretary, Mark Serowtka, said: “The Government could stop these strikes tomorrow if it puts more money on the table.

“Like so many workers, Border Force employees are struggling with the cost of living crisis. They are desperate.”

Motorists have also been warned of disruption on Britain’s roads, as National Highways staff walk out.

Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency, told the Independent: “I’ve never seen such distress among people travelling over the festive period.”

RMT rail workers are also walking out around the Christmas period with hundreds of trains likely to be cancelled.

Rail passengers have been warned against attempting any travel on Christmas Eve as final trains may leave as early as 8am.

Eurostar security staff cancelled a planned strike on December 22 after receiving an improved offer on pay and working conditions.

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