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Assembly member hits out at "selfish" Home Office strike action

by LLB Editor
20th Jul 12 12:34 pm

London Assembly member Andrew Boff has hit out at “selfish” Home Office staff who plan to stage a 24-hour strike on the eve of the Olympic Games.

The Conservative AM said the industrial action would make it more difficult to attract investment to East London, after the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) announced its members would walk out on Thursday.

The strike action will affect border controls at ports and airports such as Heathrow as people travel to London to enjoy the Olympic Games.

“One of the reasons for bidding for the Games was to show there are parts of London that are attractive to investors and to put a new light on that part of London,” said Boff.

“These strikes will make it more difficult to attract the investment our economy needs.

“There are tens of thousands of people in London giving up time to volunteer, sometimes at a cost to themselves, to make this a good Games.

“A small number of selfish people, rather than showing off and doing what is best for Britain, have decided to use it as a bargaining chip for an industrial dispute.”

PCS said spending cuts are impacting on services to the public and warned of further action if ministers “refuse” to negotiate an agreement.

Staff across the Home Office will be involved in the strike, including UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service and the Criminal Records Bureau.

Prime minister David Cameron condemned the strike and said the Games would be safe and secure, regardless of the industrial action.

When asked if anything could or should be done to avert the strike, Boff said: “I would feel let down in the government felt it was held to ransom by union leaders who seized an opportunity to negotiate on the basis of thoroughly irresponsible and unpatriotic action.”

Mark Serwotka, the PCS general secretary, said: “The lives of staff have been made intolerable by these cuts and they’re at breaking point.

“Ministers have known about these issues for a very long time and need to act now to sort out the chaos they have caused.

“They’re acting recklessly in cutting so many jobs and privatising services, and are provocatively refusing to talk to us with a genuine desire to reach an agreement.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “People should not be striking during the Olympics. People should not be disrupting the Olympic Games.”

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