PUBLISHED: 04:46 EST, 26 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:46 EST, 26 July 2012
A strike by border staff that could have potentially crippled Heathrow airport on the day of the Olympics opening ceremony has been called off.
The climbdown came hours after ministers revealed that more than enough border staff had volunteered to work to ensure Heathrow, which is expecting its busiest ever day as thousands arrive for the Games, operated as normal.
Fury: Home Secretary Theresa May wrote an open letter to border staff urging them to defy the walkout and 'do what their country needs' before the deal was done
Militant union chiefs admitted their threat to the start of the Olympics had prompted ‘abuse and vitriol’.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, insisted he had ‘no regrets’ about plotting the strike, which had been planned to cause chaos on Britain’s borders today.
The Government could still take court action to stop immigration and customs staff from striking on Thursday
Mr Serwotka sought to save face by claiming the Home Office had agreed to create an extra 1,100 jobs, 800 at the UK Border Force and 300 at the Passport Office.
Home Secretary Theresa May wrote an open letter to border staff urging them to defy the walkout and 'do what their country needs' before the deal was done
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka claims his strike plans will not affect the Olympics
Damian Green, the immigration minister, said: ‘We are pleased that the PCS leadership has seen sense and called off this irresponsible strike which was not supported by the majority of members.
Preparations: The Government have a contingency plan should UK border staff stage a 24-hour walkout which will portray Britain in a poor light to the thousands of foreign visitors flocking into the UK for the games
‘During the past week, our staff have shown fantastic dedication and commitment during an extremely busy period.
‘Queues at Heathrow have been almost non-existent and athletes and visitors from around the world have received a welcome of which the country can be proud.’
Mr Serwotka admitted the strike had triggered a backlash, with critics warning it would bring shame on Britain with the eyes of the world on this country.
He said: ‘We have been subjected to the most extraordinary level of vitriol and abuse in the last week [since the strike date was announced]. The abuse directed at front-line public sector staff is completely and utterly unwarranted.’
A spokesman for airports operator BAA said: ‘So far passengers arriving for the Olympics have had a smooth journey through Heathrow and it is great news that those arriving tomorrow can also expect a warm welcome to London and the Games.’
Book your travel CALL 0808 230 1002
Headlines Newsview all
Amanda Holden at the centre of Twitter backlash as she sends daughter to school dressed as Pretty Woman prostitute for fancy dress day
A parenting group has slammed TV star Amanda Holden for posting a picture of her nine-year-old daughter 'dressed as a prostitute' online.The Britain's Got Talent ... Full story
Grandmother filmed confronting militants and branding them 'devils' before quoting verses in the Koran that forbid slaughter
An incredible video has emerged showing the moment an elderly woman bravely confronted two Islamic State militants, telling them their terror group is cursed and ... Full story
Jobseeker shocked to be sent rudest rejection email ever calling him an 'old, aesthetically challenged professional pr*** with no teeth'
A jobseeker was shocked after he was branded as 'irritating', 'rude' and 'obnoxious' in a cutting email accidentally sent to him by a prospective employer.James ... Full story
Rate this article
MOST POPULAR ON CAPITALBAY
- Royal baby hoax hospital staff wanted to discipline nurse Jacintha Saldanha
- Trainee teacher hangs himself after split from the girlfriend he couldn’t live without
- Lacey Wildd has had 30 enhancement surgeries and is planning more
Images from inside Vester Flanagan's apartment show he lived sparse lifeHad no decoration on the walls, and no pictures of family or friendsOnly images are ...
General Sir Richard Dannatt called for veterans to help Afghan interpretersUrged them and public to sign a petition so they are given refuge in Britain Explained ...
International tourists still favour NSW but Victoria is catching up fast as sightseers flock to 'hipster' alleys and laneways
New South Wales continues to be the most popular tourist destinationSecond place was taken by Victoria after it scored a 12% increaseAfter 16 years, Queensland ...
Antonio Nieves, 28, and Amy Schafer, 27, charged with child neglect without great bodily harm; Nieves is also facing a domestic battery countPolice in Margate, ...
Kim Jong-Un boasts that the threat of North Korea’s military muscle secured peace along the border with the South…amid fears for the fate of top officials he dismissed for allowing the stand-off to escalate
Rival Koreas threatened strikes against each other earlier this weekIt followed landmine explosions which maimed South Korean soldiersSeoul resumed propaganda broadcasts critical of Kim Jong Un's ...
Author told his friend that his work should be 'put in middle of the road'Gaiman, Good Omens co-author, is 'ridiculously glad' that did not happenSir ...
'I don't hold a grudge... This is just one of those things': Widow reveals how Bake Off contestant Mat Riley caused crash which killed her husband
Mr Riley's car crashed into Michael Turner's motorbike in Uckfield, SussexThe 51-year-old died one week later in hospital from severe head injuriesMr Riley served ...
Savannah State University shooting: Georgia campus gets all-clear after person injured in gun attack
An American university placed its campus on lockdown after a shooting that left one person hospitalised. One man was shot and wounded in the student union ...
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING First boat with 50 people sank followed by second carrying 400 passengersMany in second boat had been trapped in the boat's hold when ...
Father of four was appalled to witness fast-food ads during BGT recentlyWants prime-time shows to face same regulations as children’s channels Family-oriented shows 'can contain ...