London: Officials in the British capital heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday as a major government employees’ trade union called off its strike that would have hit airport services just ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony.
The strike on pay and pension, originally scheduled for tomorrow, would have affected immigration at the Heathrow and other airports on what is expected to be the busiest day in the history of the major international airport before the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday.
The Public and Commercial Services union said the government had agreed to the creation of hundreds of new jobs.
Before the strike was called off, the Home Office had prepared itself to seek an injunction at the High Court against the strike, based on the argument there had been a "procedural error" in the union`s ballot of its members.
However, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka this morning announced the suspension of the strike after "major progress" in the dispute.
He said 800 new jobs were to be created in the UK Border Agency and 300 in passport offices.
Recruitment adverts had already been placed for the jobs at sites including Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports, the union added.
Meanwhile, there were major traffic jams in London this morning as due to the new road restrictions designed to help the movement of Olympic athletes, officials and the media.
From 6 am today, drivers or cyclists in the designated Olympic Lanes are liable to be fined 130 pounds.
There was some confusion as several drivers said some lanes were still open to all traffic, while some signs appeared to be conflicting.
The Olympics Torch today visited the Wembley Stadium, where the Badminton events will be held.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Torch relay, when it will be carried by prominent individuals, including Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and his son, Aditya Mittal.