If traveling in the UK next Wednesday are you making preparations for the very nearly general strike in the UK? Most civil servants and university workers and staff will be on strike, most major unions, millions of people. There will be demonstrations and marches in major cities and London. Mass demonstrations in London have previously resulted in some unpleasantness. I would advise not to get involved with them, or even to observe. The Metropolitan Police have a tactic called "Kettling" which involves containing all people in a demonstration in a very small area and not allowing anybody, protester or not, through the police line in either direction. This containment is for several hours with no provision made for food, warmth or toilet facilities. The idea is to make it as unpleasant as possible for the demonstrators without actually harming them, hence the name - its like being in a kettle over the flame. If you get caught up in one you will not be able to get out, US passport or no. There will be congestion on public transport. What plans have you made?
Excellent advice from Nigel.
up-date: it was in today's Evening Standard that 2.6 million are expected to be on strike. It was announced today that various office workers are being brought in to cover for striking Border Agency staff at airports and ports on the day. They will be doing the immigration and customs duties. Its not clear what training they will receive. You may find longer, slower queues arriving in the UK, or leaving.
More news - Heathrow Airport announced today that they are planning "for up to 12 hour delays at Passport Control" during next Wednesday's strike. They did not announce any expectation of cancelling flights. = = = My question is not to alarm or distress - it is to show facts so that you can prepare yourself. I would expect that if you are away from the demos there will only be moderate disruption, unless you want to go to a museum which has closed or use crowded transportation.
In the papers this morning that many of the managers who the government were hoping would staff immigration desks are refusing to work. If you have any option, I'd strongly recommend not attempting to enter or leave the UK by any means of transport on the 30th.
Maybe they will just open the gates at passport control and let travelers through. A dozen jumbo jets landing with hundreds of travelers each, jammed up at passport control, sounds like a recipe for worse than chaos. I wonder if some of the airlines will divert their landings to other airports. That would be inconvenient for travelers, but probably safer.
This is from the Heathrow websit regarding the strike....... We are very concerned by the impact that the proposed UK Border Agency immigration officer strike action on 30 November will have on arriving passengers at Heathrow. We are discussing contingency plans with the UK Border Agency and airlines, about how we can minimise the impact on our passengers. We recommend that you keep in touch with your airline to check the status of your flight or onward connection and for any advice about travel on that day. We will publish further passenger information on the website when it is available.
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Hopefully, it won't move to Paris on Saturday. We'll be arriving on an early morning flight. We planned to visit Egypt but cancelled with all their unrest. Not knowing what will happen when in Greece makes it not worth planning to go there. I was going to go to the UK next year but if they're going to start random strikes I can change my plans. I know Rick says that you need to go anyway despite unrest and riots. However, I'm of the opinion that there are too many places worth visiting so I can pick one not wanting to randomly strike and riot. I'm sure I'm not the only tourist that thinks this way. Screwing with your tourist dollars is a good way to make the necessary austerity even greater.
THANK YOU, Nigel! My husband is in London right now - and thank goodness he will be flying out on the 29th! In the meantime, I will pass on your very good information to him, in case there's any unpleasantness in the days prior to the planned event. (That's highly unlikely, I assume....)
Additionally, note that this strike includes the vast majority of national and local government workers, so government or council-run museums and galleries are likely to be completely or partially closed.
Don't forget that while they are expecting the worst chaos in Heathrow, ALL airports and points of entry will be affected.
It's a countrywide strike, and so far no signs at all of either side backing down.
For those of you who don't know - the strike is about the pensions of public sector workers. These are the pension plans of the current employees who pay into a negotiated agreed system and know they will get a guarenteed amount out at the end (proportion of yearly salary). Public sector pensions have been offered like this for years - the theory being salaries while working would be lower, ie they are seen as a deferred salary benefit. Sorry for those whose holidays / businesses are disrupted, but this is a pretty major strike.
For info, yes I'm a public sector worker so i understand the system. No, i'm not striking (i'm a doctor and don't strike). S
From a transportation standpoint, this seems to have been a big bust. I'm sure it did cause a number of people not to visit Great Britain on that day lowering the tax receipts from foreigners. The children got a day off so they're happy. I feel sorry for anyone with a serious issue that didn't get to see a doctor. I'm sure they all weren't as committed as Susan above.
I know these things aren't always 'One & Done' and are sometimes followed by renewed strikes. Has anyone heard anything? I can't find much in the UK papers about any dates. Any other sectors planning on joining in? I fly into Heathrow on 12/10 and I'm getting a little nervous. At least it's a weekend so maybe not too bad. Wasn't the case in Paris last year.
Leslie It is not clear what the next steps will be. Today, there was varying level of difficulty in different part of the country.
Katy Ken, The various parts of the country managed differently. It has been reported that Heathrow worked reasonably well is because passengers moved their flights to other days, and various other workers were brought in. No transportation at all moved in Northern Ireland, nothing crossed the Mersey in Liverpool, no Tyne and Wear Metro, difficulty in transport in Glasgow and other places in Scotland. For example.
Thanks for all the real time info Nigel! That's where these forums are priceless.
Nigel, Good for those strikers. They should do this for weeks. Eventually, the government will be forced to lay off half of them in the name of austerity. I don't want this to sound like a political statement but I'm afraid it will. I have alway wondered what the rioters of Wisconson, Ohio, Greece and now this work stoppage in GB is going to accomplish. The governments are short of money. The government workers disrupt things that cause the goverment to lose tax revenues. I guess if you stop educating your children and eliminate medical care, enough money will be found to pay for government workers' pensions. I hope the strikers at least lose a day of pay. I don't think they did in the US. Paid to riot, what a country! I don't remember GB being involved in these mass work stoppages before but I could certainly be wrong. I won't comment on this thread anymore in case a moderator feels I've become too political.
The right to strike, is an essential part of any democracy, and considered an essential human right. If it interferes with ones vacation plans.... that's the way the ball bounces. If you're so opposed independent labor unions, and/or the right to strike and protest you may feel more comfortable traveling or moving to Cuba, China, or North Korea.
Flew out of Heathrow this morning and thankfully had no problems. Non-stop on Delta to Detroit. Was mentally prepared for a long day but my flight was not delayed at all. Plane was 2/3 empty.
I just can't let the "rioters" in Wisconsin comment pass. I was there. I marched. There was NO riot. These are teachers, librarians and others who over the years have negotiated for benefits in place of salary increases and other compensation. The riot that was shown on Fox had palm trees and was of some other location. Striking is labor right and is one of the few tools that labor has to equalize the power that management holds. Pam