UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff working at immigration controls in Calais, Dunkirk, Coquelles and Boulogne in France will be taking part in a one-day strike tomorrow (Saturday), following the breakdown of talks over plans to slash subsistence rates.
More than 470 staff plan to strike over proposals to scrap allowances for day and night shifts and cut the overnight allowance by a third, from €68 (£60) to €45 (£40).
The PCS union estimates that the average staff member could lose about £500 a month in allowances.
On a ballot turnout of 72%, 96% voted in favour of the strike action and 4% against.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Staff working away from home in another country are quite rightly angry at the way the agency is seeking to slash agreed allowances. These are dedicated staff who do a difficult job and work unsociable hours. It is disgraceful that the average staff member stands to lose over £500 a month because of imposed changes by the UKBA.”
UKBA is confident the strike will not compromise border security, adding it was “disappointed” union members had opted to strike.
Brodie Clark, head of the Border Force, said: “We have robust plans in place to ensure that the border remains secure. UK border security will not be compromised by this industrial action, which will only involve a small number of staff at limited locations.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said it was “likely” that both UKBA management and unions were talking today, meaning there was a chance the strike could be called off.
Meanwhile, a report by the prisons inspectorate called on UKBA to review “wholly unacceptable” conditions for women and children at an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport.