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
One of the richest towns in Britain also has the highest number of people having extramarital affairs, according to new research. Wealthy Maidenhead tops a new ... Full story
A trainee teacher hanged himself on New Year’s Eve after a split from his girlfriend, an inquest heard today. Keiran Walsh, 22, split from his partner ... Full story
DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand CAR DEALER to save £1 million in celebrity tax avoidance scheme
DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand car dealer while presenting Radio 1’s Breakfast Show in a bid to save up to £1million in ... Full story
Rate this article
MOST POPULAR ON CAPITALBAY
- 'Don't Have Any Parties': Last Words of Mother Days Before Her Son Threw a Massive Party and Drunken Facebook Crashers Trashed Her £1m House
- Woman Driver's Fury After Commons Speaker 'Clipped Her Car as He Parked Outside a London restaurant'
- Swarms of Massive Insects Kill More Than 40 and Injure 1,600 in China
Paul Weller has won £10,000 in damages from the Mail Online, after images of his children were “plastered” across the site. The Jam frontman sued ...
More 'giant rats' appear to have been spotted, after pictures of sizeable rodents discovered in or near the homes of people across England have emerged. ...
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp standing with 'hand on the door handle' when she was shot dead
Reeva Steenkamp was standing with her hand "on the door handle" before Oscar Pistorius shot her dead through a locked toilet door, his murder trial ...
A skeleton has been found by builders underneath a driveway in Purley, south London. The discovery was made by landscape gardeners who were working in the ...
Teachers and schools should check on the holiday arrangements of pupils from communities which practice female genital mutilation (FGM), a conference was told. Delegates at the ...
Peaches Geldof dead: Australia’s Next Top Model judging role lined up for star following suicide of model mentor Charlotte Dawson
Peaches Geldof was in secret talks with the producers of talent show Australia’s Next Top Model for a high-profile judging role, following the tragic death ...
A new sort of inflatable wind turbine that floats thousands of feet above the ground could be a powerful source of sustainable, low cost energy ...
Young people who smoke marijuana may be at risk of “major” changes to the area of the brain that regulates motivation, a new study claims. Our ...
The production company behind controversial documentary Benefits Street has said it is developing a new series about immigrants in Britain. Love Productions has confirmed it is ...