London, Dec 18 (EFE).- The UK government said on Sunday that it would deploy 1,200 soldiers and 1,000 civil servants to fill in for border guards and ambulance drivers who are set to strike the week before Christmas.
Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government said the move to deploy troops was to provide backup at airports and hospitals during to keep essential services running.
But, the chief of the defense staff, Admiral Tony Radakin, has said that the army is not “spare capacity”.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph he said: “We’re busy and we’re doing lots of things on behalf of the nation – we’ve got to focus on our primary role.”
Radakin said the army should not be seen as the “go-to” option to deal with strikes.
Some 10,000 ambulance workers are set to strike on December 21 and 28 over a pay dispute.
Nurses have been called to strike by the Royal College of Nurses union on December 20, and agents of the UK Border Force will walk out for eight days from December 23 to 31, which could cause significant disruptions to travel over the festive season.
The government has announced that the military will try to minimize the disruption to travelers by overseeing ID checks.
According to the BBC, some airlines have stopped selling tickets to London’s Heathrow airport on days when border agents will go on strike. EFE