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
- Vladimir Putin dispatches warship to Mediterranean after Turkey crisis amid war fears
- Instagram food bloggers Bunday Burgers slammed by The Beaufort for 'racist' post
- Lord Ashdown links Tories to 'rich Arabs' who fund the ISIS jihadists
Russia warns of 'serious consequences' after Nato country downs Russian military jet for first time since 1953Two pilots were reportedly shot dead by Syrian rebels as ...
A restaurant has slammed a group of burger reviewers on Instagram 'Burger Bunday' went to try out food at The Beaufort in Carlton, MelbourneAfter the feed, ...
Lord Ashdown said 'rich businessmen' in Gulf countries are funding terrorAlso said nations like Saudi Arabia haven't been fighting hard against ISISClaims David Cameron must ...
The 24-year-old alleges he was underpaid by $7,000 over three months Rafael Colobon spoke on ABC's 7.30 about a ‘sham contracting’ schemeMr Colobon cannot now afford ...
Two men died after concrete slab fell on them at construction site in PerthMen are believed to have died instantly just after 11.30am on WednesdayEmergency ...
Massive bushfires burning near Mallala, north of Adelaide, South AustraliaFirefighters have received burns while trying to contain the blazesAnother major fire burning near Lameroo, 200km about ...
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to consider paid domestic violence leaveOpposition Leader Bill Shorten supports five days of paid leaveConcerns for small businesses who can't afford ...
Australian actress Bindi Irwin has won Dancing with the Stars U.S. The 17-year-old took home the coveted trophy after stellar performanceBindi became a household name due ...
Georgia Davis, 22, is said to have found love with Matthew Takel, 43She announced on Facebook that she is 'in a relationship' this weekMiss Davis ...
At least 40,000 households could be facing Thanksgiving without any electricity as temperatures plungeGusts of more than 50mph battered the coast, knocking down trees and ...