Strikes threaten Olympics
The leaders of both main parties today hit out over strikes which threaten to disrupt the Olympic Games.
Border Agency staff will stage a walk-out on 26 July, the day before the Olympic opening ceremony, while workers from East Midlands Trains today also announced industrial action during the games. Border guards will also work-to-rule and work no overtime from 27 July to 20 August.
David Cameron said he hoped that government workers would not go ahead with strikes, but insisted the Olympics would be safe and secure regardless.
Labour leader Ed Miliband also condemned the Home Office action, called by the PCS union, saying "people should not be striking during the Olympics".
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Mr Cameron said: "I do not believe it will be right, I do not believe it will be justified."
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said "what's really shameful" was that the Government was "scaremongering" rather than trying in earnest to avoid the strikes.
Mr Serwotka said his union had been "trying for 18 months to get the Government to talk to us", and argued the strikes were going to "demosntrate that these services are getting less and less effective every day of the year, and it's not about papering over the cracks two days before the Olympics, it's about having proper staff secure borders every single day of the year."
Immigration Minister Damian Green said the country's reputation was at stake, and said this was "a shameful decision by the PCS leadership."
Mr Green argued the country was well prepared, however, and said hundreds of people from other government departments were ready and trained to fill in any gaps on the day of the strikes.
Theresa May joined the condemnation, saying the PCS should "think about what the Olympic Games means to the UK" and rethink their "shameful" plans.
Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, earler insisted that, in spite of the threat, the public could be "very, very confident" in the arrangements for the games.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening hit out at the Aslef union for voting through the rail strikes, set for August 6-8, saying that “if there were an Olympic sport of self-interest, Aslef union leaders would win it hands down."
David Horne, the managing director of East Midlands Trains, described the move as a “kick in the teeth for our customers” and accused Aslef, the union representing train drivers, of “playing games”.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said he thought it was "highly unlikely" the strike would seriously disrupt the Olympic Games.
“Obviously I think the overwhelming majority of members of the PCS are going to want to put on a great games and I think it’s highlight unlikely [the strike] will succeed,” he told BBC News.