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The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS): Immigration union sets strike date as talks continue

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) warned today that over 1,200 immigration officers could be taking part in a 24 hour strike on 5 August should further talks with UK Border Agency (UKBA) management fail in a dispute over job content, working practices and shift patterns.

Further talks are scheduled for this Friday aimed at resolving the dispute, which centres on plans by UKBA to force immigration officers to undertake duties and work performed by customs officers, as well as imposing changes to shift patterns which could see immigration officer's wages cut.

Immigration officers are angry over moves by UKBA to force them to carry out duties which they weren't employed for, such as strip searches and law enforcement duties, as the agency seeks to merge the jobs of customs officers and immigration officers.

The union isn't against change but believes that immigration officers should be able to choose whether or not to undertake customs duties and will be pressing management for assurances on job roles, working practices and shift patterns.

The Home Office group executive section of the union which covers immigration officers will be on standby to meet in the event that talks produce an acceptable offer of settlement.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "Immigration officers are angry at being forced to do a job that they weren't recruited to do. We are not against change, but there needs to be a recognition that immigration and customs officers have separate specialist roles and duties. Immigration officers want to be able to choose whether they undertake duties and work performed by customs officers and not have shift patterns imposed upon them that could see their wages cut and their work-life balance affected. We will continue to press for a negotiated outcome to avoid the obvious disruption that a strike will cause."

For further information, interviews and comment please contact Alex Flynn, PCS national press officer on 020 7801 2820 or 07833 978216.

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