By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Airport passport officers have become the latest public sector workers to announce an industrial action in pressing for pay rise to mitigate soaring inflation in UK.
The Public and Commercial Services Union on Wednesday said its members at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports would strike for eight days between Dec. 23 and Dec. 31, one of the busiest times of year for international travel.
This comes as Britain’s Conservative government vows to take “tough” action to deal with strikes, already sweeping the health sector.
Industrial action has spread across both public and private sector workplaces as employees seek increment in their pay to keep up with inflation that has hit 11.1%, driven by growing prices for energy and food.
Railway staff and postal workers are engaged in a series of 24- or 48-hour walkouts. British nurses are due to strike on Dec. 15. Ambulance crews and dispatchers plan to walk out on Dec. 21 and Dec. 28.
The government says public sector workers deserve raises, but double-digit increases are unaffordable.
It has promised since 2019 to pass legislation compelling train companies to maintain minimum service levels during strikes, though the bill is stalled in Parliament.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Wednesday he was considering more “tough new laws.”
“If the union leaders continue to be unreasonable, then it is my duty to take action to protect the lives and livelihoods of the British public,” Sunak said in the House of Commons.