Prime Minister, David Cameron, has condemned the proposed strike action over job cuts and pay that border forces have threatened to take during the Olympic games.
Cameron commented "I do not believe it would be right, I do not believe it would be justified." He went on to say that the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) had only managed around a 20 percent turnout, and a very narrow majority, so he hoped that strike action would not take place.
Unfortunately, it is not just the border staff who have proposed strikes during the Olympic games. Thousands of staff at the Home Office, which includes airport immigration, plan on a twenty four hour strike the day before the Olympics as well as train drivers represented by the Aslef union, who plan on strikes in August over their pensions. These strikes have been condemned by politicians with the unions having been described as being out of touch with the public mood if they believe these actions to be the right step.
Members of the Aslef union for East Midlands Trains will take industrial action on August 6, 7 and 8, during a number of athletics finals at the Olympic Stadium. The PCS also plan on taking further actions during the Olympics in addition to their strike the day before the games start, potentially up until August 20. They are hoping the strikes will lead to a resolution concerning their pensions, pay and other issues. The strike will involve staff from the UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau.
It's not just politicians who don't agree with these actions, Stagecoach, has expressed that the public will be extremely angry that these actions are being taken at such a disruptive time and when we really should be focusing on our national pride. In their defence the General Secretary for PCS, Mark Serwotka, said that 'ministers have known about these issues for a very long time and need to act now to sort out the chaos they have caused.'
The Olympic games being in London should be an opportunity to show the world what we can do but at the moment it seems we are ill prepared. The security problems caused by private sector firm G4S is another example of how things have not quite gone to plan. David Horne, Managing Director of East Midlands Trains, referring to the train strikes said 'this is yet another example of Aslef playing games and is a real kick in the teeth for our customers and the country.' He went on to explain that since their last strike in June there was only one more point that needed further discussion and that talks were ongoing when they heard the news of more strike action. 'We're particularly surprised that Aslef has announced further strike dates, rather than putting the offer that was accepted in principle back in June to their members for consideration.' He wanted to reassure the public and visitors that they would do all that was necessary to ensure the Olympic games ran smoothly nonetheless.