Border Force staff have begun the second in a series of strikes at UK airports until New Year’s Eve, including in Glasgow.
Around 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), many employed in passport control, have walked out on December 28 with action ongoing until December 31.
Officers at Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow airports are striking over pay, jobs and conditions as the cost of living rises.
Civil servants have joined military personnel to cover the strikers across the UK.
“We know that the military are not trained to do the job that our members do,” said Jenni Gunn, of PCS Scotland.
“They’re not trained to look out for people who may be being trafficked or people that are entering the country illegally.
“They might be able to cover our jobs in the short term but can they teach our kids in schools? Can they drive ambulances? Can they find hospital beds?”
Around 100,000 civil servants voted to take strike action.
Included in that are driving examiners in England who launched a five-day strike as part of escalating industrial action in the dispute over pay, jobs and pensions.
“Our members are determined to get a fair pay rise. They’re determined to get pension contributions back that they’ve been overpaying for many years. And we’ve been just amazed by the public support on picket lines. We’ve had people coming past telling us that they really support the campaign.
“We obviously represent all members across the Home Office, ones that work in all of our airports, all of our ports, work in immigration enforcement. So in terms of how we could escalate that specific dispute, there are thousands of more members that we could take out on strike if the Government don’t heed our demands.
“The government keeps saying that the door is open but if there’s no more money on the table, then we will have to escalate that strike action.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “After two years of virtual Christmases, the British public deserve better than to have their festive celebrations impacted by strikes.
“The Transport Secretary and rail minister have worked hard to facilitate a fair and reasonable offer, which two unions have accepted, and it is incredibly disappointing that some continue to strike.
“We urge them to step back, reconsider and get back round the table, so we can start 2023 by ending this damaging dispute.”