A planned strike by British border staff on the eve of London 2012 has been called off, it was announced today.

The strike, called by members of the the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, was scheduled to place tomorrow, just one day before the start of the Olympic Games, and it would have caused severe problems at all of the key London 2012 transport hubs, including Heathrow Airport, which is now entering its busiest ever period.

The one-day strike was designed to demonstrate anger over cuts to United Kingdom border staff numbers and pay.

The issue had become so serious that Home Office officials were due to ask the High Court to block the strike by declaring it illegal with the Olympic looming.

But the issue has been diverted, at least temporarily, after the PCS were promised that there would be significant investment in the border force and passport service in a move that would see the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs.

"These new jobs are a welcome step towards a recognition that the Home Office has been cracking under the strain of massive job losses, and that the answer is not more cuts but more investment," said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

"We are pleased that with these new posts and the progress made in talks we are able to avert a strike ahead of the Olympics.

"But we first raised our concerns 18 months ago, so it is deeply regrettable that Ministers allowed this dispute to escalate."

Olympic volunteers wait to greet arriving teams at Heathrow Airport ahead of the Games

PCS Parliamentary group chair John McDonnell has also welcomed the move.

"Thank goodness the Government has seen sense," he said.

"The union has secured a tremendous breakthrough to protect its members' jobs.

"This could have been sorted weeks ago.

"There was no need for this heavy-handed brinkmanship by the Government."

By Tom Degun at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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