Yesterday when we announced that border officials, passport workers and other Home Office staff had decided to strike on the day before the Olympics opening ceremony, ministers went into overdrive.
We were treated to not just one, but three government ministers wading in, bizarrely, to both whip up hysteria about the perceived impact of a strike ahead of the Games and to play down its effects.
But while they appear to be confused, their central theme was that this is "unpatriotic" and, in the words of Theresa May - and I'm not making this up - "shameful".
This is scaremongering, designed to deflect attention away from the root causes of the dispute: namely that the Home Office is cutting a third of its staff, including thousands at the borders, and bringing in a private company to undertake sensitive immigration and customs work - at a time when G4S has given us all a textbook lesson in the failings of privatisation.
The problems caused by the sheer scale of these job cuts have been obvious for all to see in recent weeks, with chaos at the borders and queues of angry passengers venting their frustration on hard-pressed frontline workers.
The serious shortage of permanent experienced border officers means hundreds of temporary staff are being deployed without having had the proper training.
It is interesting to note that some of the same media outlets that have devoted hours of airtime and acres of newsprint to this shambles, that the government is solely responsible for, are now vilifying our members who are trying to do something about it.
On top of this, pay is being cut, conditions of work are being eroded and senior managers are fostering a culture of fear and intimidation by victimising and sacking our union representatives who speak out.
These are long standing issues that ministers have known about for a very long time. We first wrote to the Home Office to register our concerns and ask for negotiations in January 2011.
But instead of acting responsibly to sort out the mess, the government has escalated matters recently by issuing compulsory redundancy notices to passport staff, and just days before offering overtime to those that remain.
The government could avoid this strike if it wanted to. We are willing to get round the table at any point over the next week, but there has to be a genuine willingness on their part to negotiate.
After months of us asking, it took being shamed by the home affairs select committee for immigration minister Damian Green to even agree to meet us.
When he did, on 28 June, we specifically asked him to give his officials the flexibility to be able to reach an agreement with us. He refused.
This is reckless and provocative and ought to bring shame on someone who claims to be acting in the national interest.
No one ever wants to go on strike. It is a cliché, but it's true, it really is a last resort. Home Office staff are at breaking point.
They simply want to be able to do a proper job and serve the public. Let us hope the
government wants this too.
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