Strike Alert: Will U.K. Border Battle Impact Cruise Travel?

July 28, 2009

(3 p.m. EDT) -- Unionized immigration officials working for the U.K. Border Agency are threatening a two-day strike beginning 5 August, according to BBC News -- which could mean disruptions for cruise travellers flying into the U.K. or departing on cruises from U.K. homeports.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), members of which are employed at the ports of Dover and Southampton as well as local airports, is the group that has voted to strike. A spokesperson for the PCS tells us that a strike could delay disembarkation at cruise ports.

However, spokespersons for both the U.K. Border Agency and Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), which represents cruise and ferry companies operating in the U.K., tell us that they anticipate little to no disruption for cruise passengers. It's important to note that the PCS union does not make up the entire complement of immigration workers at U.K. borders -- which means there will be employees working at U.K. ports and airports, even if the strike takes place.

A spokesperson for PCS tells us that the union is in talks with U.K. border control today and that more information will be available later this week. The port of Southampton referred us to the U.K. Border Agency for more info and did not provide additional comment; the port of Dover did not respond by press time.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor, with reporting by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor