Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted today that ministers have discussed sacking UK Border Agency workers who have voted to strike in a row over jobs, pay and conditions.
Thousands of staff at the Home Office, including including the UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau, are to stage a 24-hour strike on Thursday, the day before the Olympics start.
Civil servants' union PCS said its members will also take action short of a strike, such as a ban on overtime, from July 27 to August 20.
PCS is in dispute with the Home Office over plans to cut 8,500 jobs, the threat of compulsory redundancies, a 1 per cent pay cap, privatisation and alleged victimisation of union reps.
During an interview with Mr Hunt on Radio 5 Live today, host Garry Richardson suggested that he should just sack anyone going on strike.
Mr Hunt replied: "Sack them? That is the Ronald Reagan approach and I can tell you among ministers there have been people asking whether we should be doing that, but I don't want to escalate things by talking about that right now."
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said he still hoped the dispute could be sorted out and that the was a "last resort."
He said: "8,500 jobs are being cut, 22 per cent of staff at the border are to lose their jobs even though we routinely have queues and passenger anger is rising all the time, and we've had compulsory redundancy notices issued to people in passport offices when you cannot get a passport at the moment because the service cannot cope."