The London Olympics looks set to be thrown into further chaos as train drivers and passport officials have become the latest to threaten strike action in the lead up to and during the XXX Olympiad.
The Aslef rail union made public on Thursday the fact that more than 400 of its members in central England will walk out between 6th and 8th August in a row over pensions, affecting passengers travelling from cities such as Sheffield, Wolverhampton and Derby to London.
The ruling coincided with a decision by border officials to strike on 26th July, the day before the Olympics begin, possibly delaying many thousands of visitors arriving in the English capital for the event.
The danger of transport bedlam has added to growing pressure on the government, which has already been forced to call in thousands of extra soldiers to guard the Games after a failed private sector (G4s Security) recruitment drive left an embarrassing lack of security.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt rubbished claims that the buildup to the Games had been a mess, stating that for an operation of such a massive scale the preparations had in fact been remarkably smooth.
Hunt reiterated government guarantees that the Games would be safe in a metropolis where suicide bombers killed 52 people in attacks on the transport system in July 2005, ironically enough, less than 24 hours after London was awarded the 2012 Games by the International Olympic Committee.
“Obviously we are monitoring the whole time what’s happening with respect to the changing security situation, and we have extremely competent intelligence services who are giving us advice and we are responding to that on an ongoing basis,” Hunt said when asked about the attack in a Burgas where a suicide bomber killed at least seven people on a bus.
“The world can be absolutely certain that we will deliver a safe and secure Olympics. It has always been our number one priority.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking during a visit to Afghanistan, said of the planned strike action by passport officials: “I do not believe it would be justified.”