Heathrow strike called off for Olympics

By Georgie Keate

Last-minute talks have prevented a meltdown at Britain's largest airport as the union representing border staff agreed not to strike tomorrow.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union had threatened to walk out on Thursday, creating chaos at Britain's borders, but has backed down following concessions from the Home Office.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the talks signalled "major progress" as 800 new jobs in the Border Agency were promised by the government.

However, immigration minister Damian Green has denied Serwotka's announcement that the government had done a U-turn on job cuts, claiming only 300 current vacancies at the passport service would be filled.

"It's pretty clear that the union leadership needed some kind of fig leaf for their climbdown, and that's what they've done – and I'm glad they've done it," he said.

The decision not to strike was made in the shadow of the government's attempt to launch a high court challenge to prevent the industrial action.

The PCS maintain that they have been under "disgraceful" attack by the government and stress that the dispute is not yet over.

Thursday will be Heathrow's busiest ever day as thousands arrive to watch and compete in the Olympics.