As public sector workers continue with their plans to stage a strike on Wednesday, the government has confirmed that there will be no relaxation of border controls to cope with expected queues at airports. Lord Henley, Home Office minister, said the security of the country’s borders would remain a key priority. The public sector row over pension changes could see as many as 2 million workers not turning up for work, and up to 90 per cent of UK schools closing their doors.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, accused the unions of deliberately looking for a fight. He said that leaders wanted to produce disharmony just as the nation needed to be pulling together, adding that strikes would do nothing but damage the economy.

Prime Minister David Cameron accused the unions of behaving in an irresponsible manner. He added that the latest offer concerning public sector pensions was a generous and fair one. He went on to say that the result should be that all industrial action scheduled for this week should be cancelled.

Union bosses claim that a large number of those who plan to show their dissatisfaction will be involving themselves in industrial action for the first time ever, and that this illustrates just how dissatisfied workers have become with the situation.

David Prentis, leader of Unison, has predicted that Wednesday’s action could be the most widespread since the General Strike of 1926. Labour MP John McDonnell has called for the closure of Heathrow Airport because he is concerned about safety.