Tuesday 1 May 2012

Lousy At Your Job? Just Throw Your Weight About!

Of course, this might only work if you’re a civil servant, who’s neither civil, not servile:
Heathrow airport has been ordered by the Border Force to stop handing out leaflets to passengers acknowledging the "very long delays" at immigration.
And also, handily, advising them how to complain to the Home Office!

Which, rather than making the UKBA up their game, put more staff on and resolve this issue, has had them throw their toys out of the pram and demand Heathrow takes action instead to stop it being reported...
…Marc Owen, director of UK Border Agency operations at Heathrow, has told BAA that the leaflets are "inappropriate" and that ministers would take "a very dim view".
Well, who cares what ministers think?

Is it the case that UKBA short-staffing is causing delays? Yes.

Is it the case that this is causing difficulty for passengers, and therefore, by extension, Heathrow? Yes.

Is it the case, as MacHeath notes, that the magic technology that enabled the UKBA to cut its staff to thinner and thinner levels keeps failing? Yes.

So fix it! Don’t shoot the messenger. Trying to hide things under the carpet never works…
In an email obtained by The Daily Telegraph, he said: "The leaflet... is both inflammatory and likely to increase tensions in arrivals halls especially in the current atmosphere. It is inappropriate in that it is not for you to display how to complain on our behalf.
Mr Owen also told BAA to prevent passengers taking pictures in the arrivals hall. Pictures of lengthy queues have been posted on Twitter by frustrated people.
He ‘told’ them to prevent pictures being taken? Under what powers?

Who does this useless article think he is to forbid photography, the police?


Macheath said...

Thanks for the link!

Surely BAA should ask Mr Owen to demonstrate exactly how he intends to prevent photos being taken - preferably in Heathrow, at 6am, when the transatlantic red-eye specials have just landed en masse...

Jay said...

The last time I flew in to Heathrow, which was in September last year, I waited in the queue for over an hour. There were only 4 people working at passport control, two for British and EU citizens, and two for non-EU folk. There must have been 1500 people in the queue for non-EU travellers, and 400 or so for EU people. This was about 8 a.m. or so.

Part of the problem was that people hadn't filled in their landing cards, but really the biggest problem was lack of staff and the incompetence of UKBA.

I have to fly overseas again in a few days. You can bet I'm going to be taking pictures of the queue.

Anonymous said...

Please bear in mind Mr Owen's words and actions reflect those of the newly installed Brian Moore, the former Wiltshire chief constable of cell brutality fame.

Politeness and civility? Kiss the f****** concrete you f****** b******.

Woman on a Raft said...

Funny, but UKBA always seems to have plenty of staff to play legal ping-pong (which they usually lose) with Smokin' Hot and other people exercising their treaty rights to import tobacco for personal use.

Idea! Move some of the tax-gatherers by proxy to Heathrow and tell them to stick to the easier job of managing the queues.

Every little helps.

Tatty said...

Border Force will learn...as my cat sometimes does...some turds are too big to cover up no matter how hard you scritch.

A salt and battered said...

Scritch...a lovely word, tatty.

Not one of the uninvited cats which answered the call of nature in my garden, have returned to hygienically break down their deposits by sonic bombardment.

blueknight said...

I have sympathy with the individual UKBA Officers who have been put in an impossible situation

blueknight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
muzza3 said...

In the 80s I was a reasonably senior Customs Officer at Auckland Airport NZ.In those days the place was notorious for its delays.
On this particular day no baggage trolleys were available .So I was "directing traffic",eg that way out etc that way for an internal search etc.

Got sick of " where can I find a baggage trolley".
In hte baggage/customs hall was an internal phone.Dialed "0" asked sweetly who was responsible for the trolleys.
Told terminal manager ext 343.
So for the next 1/2 hour or so
" Where can I get a baggage trolley"
"Just use that phone over there on wall and dial 343"
So was merrily directly people to the phone, when I was approached but a person standing behind me ( never noticed him too busy giving out phone no) who berated me for giving out " an operational phone number". A most unhappy chappy.
A couple of passengers who had witnessed our exchange asked if they could write in , in support , and denounced the T/Manager for being a twat and get your arse out that door and bring some trolleys in from outside.
The Customs Dept took my side and told the TM to organise his team to be more damned efficient.

JuliaM said...

"... but really the biggest problem was lack of staff and the incompetence of UKBA. "

Quite so! And yet, as WoaR points out, they are never short-handed when it comes to some aspects of the job...

"I have sympathy with the individual UKBA Officers who have been put in an impossible situation"

Me too, to a degree.

"The Customs Dept took my side and told the TM to organise his team to be more damned efficient."

Which is basically what Heathrow are doing, in reverse...